Five female players sue U.S. Soccer Federation

US women’s football team has filed a complaint for wage-discrimination. It could become a touchstone in the debate about the pay gap between men and women in the sports world.

Five female players sue U.S. Soccer Federation

Women on the US national team are paid between 28 and 62 per cent less than the men on the US national team…
The men earn as much as 17,625 dollars for an exhibition match against a top opponent, and get no less than 5,000 dollars even if the team loses a match. But women are paid a maximum of 4,950 dollars if they win every game. And they are only paid for the first 20 exhibition games they play each year. And the men’s team earned nine million dollars in the 2014 World Cup for losing in the round of 16, while the women made two million dollars when they won the 2015 World Cup. At the same year, 2015, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF, ed.) made a profit of 16 million dollars on the women’s team. It had a loss on men’s team!
The numbers speak for themselves. There is no equal pay in US soccer. Therefore Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces equal pay law in the USA. The move marks an historic effort to close the sports industry’s notorious gender wage gap. And it will become the first step in a legal fight about the pay gap between men and women in the sports world, in the USA – and eventually around the world.


“The numbers speak for themselves. We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the men’s national team get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships,” Hope Solo says to Wall Street Journal.

Entitled to higher pay

According to the sports lawyer Jeffrey L. Kessler from Winston & Strawn, representing the women’s players in their action, the players have a solid case:
“This isn’t a case where someone can come in and say the reason the men are paid more is because they are more economically successful or the men outperform the women or they’re not comparable in the same way. The women have outperformed the men both economically and on the playing field in every possible way the last two years. You can even argue that based on their success, they’re entitled to even higher pay, but the law only requires at least equal pay. That just makes the case for equal pay all the more compelling. And the players have been very patient but have concluded now they have to bring a case,” the lawyer says to New York Times.


The USSF says in a statement ‘it was disappointed with the action filed by the women’s team’. The Federation says it will deal with the issue of pay with the women players’ union in upcoming contract negotiations. The current agreement covering national team members in the USA expires at the end of this year.
The US women’s team is among the favorites for the Olympics this summer.




The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.

The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

Authority & Role

The EEOC has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by the law. Our role in an investigation is to fairly and accurately assess the allegations in the charge and then make a finding. If we find that discrimination has occurred, we will try to settle the charge. If we aren’t successful, we have the authority to file a lawsuit to protect the rights of individuals and the interests of the public. We do not, however, file lawsuits in all cases where we find discrimination.

We also work to prevent discrimination before it occurs through outreach, education and technical assistance programs.

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