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Claim of unequal pay by USWNT’s players dismissed by judge

USWNT trial

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 11: Megan Rapinoe #15 and her USWNT walk out during a game between Japan and USWNT at Toyota Stadium on March 11, 2020 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

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An unequal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation by the USWNT players was dismissed by a judge on Friday in a huge blow for the U.S. women’s national team.

A judge favored the U.S. Soccer Federation in a summary judgment, saying that the USWNT’s claim that they were being paid less than the USMNT was insufficient to warrant a trial.

The judge also ruled against the USWNT lawsuit when it came to their claim about playing on artificial turf rather than grass but is yet to rule on their complaints regarding travel and player care not being on an equal level to the USMNT.

The decision is a huge shock, as the USWNT players who filed the lawsuit were asking for $66 million in damages from USSF.

USWNT spokeswoman Molly Levinson said the women will immediately appeal.

“We are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay. We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women who play this sport will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender. We have learned that there are tremendous obstacles to change; we know that it takes bravery and courage and perseverance to stand up to them. We will appeal and press on. Words cannot express our gratitude to all who support us.”

USWNT captain Megan Rapinoe had a simple response to summary judgement: “We will never stop fighting for equality.”

Here are more details from the ruling by the judge:

The 2019 World Cup winners have gained tremendous support in their battle against the U.S. Soccer Federation and this ruling was a massive surprise.

With an appeal upcoming, it will be extremely interesting to see the traction this USWNT lawsuit gets in the coming weeks and months. The four-time World Cup winners have argued that they are not paid equally compared to their USMNT counterparts.

In conjunction with this lawsuit, USSF has laid off plenty of staff and reportedly has severe financial issues with most of their youth programs cut, senior officials fired and plenty of staff furloughed.

Former U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro left his position due to the language used in the lawsuit, as USSF said that women are inferior physically to men. After that lawsuit was released sponsors hit out at U.S. Soccer and there was huge criticism of the USSF.

“In legal papers submitted to federal court in Los Angeles as part of the USSF’s defense of a gender discrimination suit by players on the women’s team, the USSF asserted the women have lesser physical abilities and responsibilities than their male counterparts.”

A new USSF President, Will Wilson, has since been appointed and the mood within the federation has shifted as plenty of the officials involved when the USWNT’s lawsuit was initially filed have now left.

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