The U.S Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) announced a settlement on Tuesday of their equal pay class action lawsuit in a joint statement.
U.S. Soccer Federation agreed to pay a total of $24 million, ESPN reported. A total amount of $22 million will be distributed in a manner proposed by players and approved by the District Court.
Under their new agreement, the federation will allocate a total of $2 million into a fund for USWNT players’ post-career goals and charitable efforts. Each player will be able to apply for up to $50,000 of this fund.
Additionally, the settlement promised to give an equal rate of pay between the men's and women’s national senior teams “in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup”.
U.S. Soccer President Cindy Cone tweeted: “Proud of this historic moment and excited to move forward together with our players to grow soccer and advance opportunities for women and girls around the world.”
This comes after twenty-eight players sued U.S. Soccer in March 2019, alleging female players were paid less despite superior performance on the field. According to their complaint, the women's team was paid thousands of dollars less than the men at nearly every level of competition.
A federal judge dismissed the women’s claim in May 2020, citing the difference in the structure of the men's and women's contracts.
In December, aspects of the suit relating to working conditions were settled out of court. In July 2021, seven other players filed an appeal on equal pay claims.
The players cited that women had to win more often than men to receive bonuses.
The full joint statement reads:
“We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer. Getting to this day has not been easy. The U.S. Women’s National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes. Today, we recognize the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped to make this day possible, as well as all of the women and girls who will follow. Together, we dedicate this moment to them. We look forward to continuing to work together to grow women’s soccer and advance opportunities for young girls and women in the United States and across the globe.”