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USWNT file gender discrimination lawsuit against US Soccer

United States v Mexico: Group A - CONCACAF Women's Championship

CARY, NC - OCTOBER 04: Megan Rapinoe #15 reacts after scoring a goal as she celebrates with teammates Alex Morgan #13 and Carli Lloyd #10 of USA against Mexico during the Group A - CONCACAF Women’s Championship at WakeMed Soccer Park on October 4, 2018 in Cary, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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The USWNT have kicked things to the next level as they continue to fight a discrimination battle against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

All 28 members of the current squad have filed a lawsuit citing “institutionalized gender discrimination” which has impacted not only their wages but also the way they train and play for the U.S. national team.

This entire battle revolves around one thing: the U.S. women’s national team players being paid the same as the men’s national team.

The lawsuit also wants to represent any former or current USWNT player who represented the team since Feb. 4, 2015.

A dispute over wage-discrimination has been going on for many years, and now the likes of Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are leading the charge, just a few months before the USWNT are set to defend their World Cup title in France at the 2019 competition.

Below are more details from the NY Times on the escalation of the situation:

The lawsuit’s points mirrored many issues raised in a wage-discrimination complaint filed by five United States players with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016. The lack of a resolution, or even any noticeable action, on that now three-year-old complaint led the players to seek, and receive, a right-to-sue letter from the E.E.O.C. in February. The decision to take their case to federal court effectively ends the E.E.O.C. complaint.

The players — a group that includes stars like Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan but also reserve players — have requested class action status. They are seeking to represent any current or former players who have represented the women’s national team since Feb. 4, 2015 — a cohort that could grow to include dozens more players — and are requesting back pay and damages and other relief: a potential award that could reach into the millions of dollars.

The players’ action is the latest flash point in a yearslong fight for pay equity and equal treatment by the national team, which has long chafed — first privately but, more recently, increasingly publicly — about its compensation, support and working conditions while representing U.S. Soccer. The women’s players argue that they are required to play more games than the men’s team, win more of them, and yet still receive lesser pay from the federation.

The U.S. national soccer team players association (USNSTPA) released a statement in support of the lawsuit.

“The United States National Soccer Team Players Association fully supports the efforts of the US Women’s National Team Players to achieve equal pay. Specifically, we are committed to the concept of a revenue-sharing model to address the US Soccer Federation’s ‘market realities’ and find a way towards fair compensation. An equal division of revenue attributable to the MNT and WNT programs is our primary pursuit as we engage with the US Soccer Federation in collective bargaining. Our collective bargaining agreement expired at the end of 2018 and we have already raised an equal division of attributable revenue. We wait on US Soccer to respond to both players associations with a way to move forward with fair and equal compensation for all US soccer players.”

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