April 6 – The long-running and often bitter dispute between the US Soccer Federation and the country’s top female players over wage discrimination has ended.
No details of the collective bargaining agreement than runs through 2021 have been released but the issue had raised the prospect of strike action by the world champions.
A joint statement from US Soccer and the players association said the deal which, crucially, was reached before the start of the National Women’s Soccer League season on April 15, will “improve the professional lives of players”.
It added: “We are proud of the hard work and commitment to thoughtful dialogue reflected through this process, and look forward to strengthening our partnership moving forward.”
In a message posted on Twitter US Soccer president Sunil Gulati hailed the accord. “We believe this is another important step to continue our longstanding efforts to drive the growth of women’s soccer in the United States,” he said.
“This agreement helps to ensure the strength of the women’s national team, provide stability and growth potential for the National Women’s Soccer League, and over time strengthen the elite player development process at the grassroots level. We believe our continued partnership will ensure a bright future for our sport for years to come.”
US Soccer had argued that the men’s team brings in more revenue from TV deals and attendances. But a year ago, five senior members of the World Cup-winning US football team filed a complaint – as yet unresolved – against the national federation claiming they are paid less than half of what the male US players receive.
The women argued that as team they ran as a profit centre for the US federation but that the men’s team ran at a loss.
Since the new deal runs through 2021, it will cover their participation in the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.
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