The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) and the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) have reached an agreement to end a legal battle over equal pay.
The USSF has agreed to pay $22 million in damages to the women’s players, and committed to providing an equal pay rate for both the women’s and men’s national teams, subject to bargaining agreements by the players’ unions.
“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,” the USWNT and USSF said in a joint statement Tuesday. “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.”
Five USWNT stars, including Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, brought the lawsuit against the USSF six years ago, after the men’s national team – whose players are paid more than their women counterparts – failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The USWNT are regular participants in the Women’s World Cup, which the team has won four times, including consecutive wins in 2015 and 2019.
Speaking by phone to the Associated Press (AP), Rapinoe said, “For our generation, knowing that we’re going to leave the game in an exponentially better place than when we found it is everything.”
She added, “That’s what it’s all about because, to be honest, there is no justice in all of this if we don’t make sure it never happens again.”
The USSF has also agreed to equalize World Cup bonuses, although the AP further reports that how they will do so has yet to be determined.