US women’s pay dispute gets political as federation hires lobbyists

August 8 – US Soccer has enlisted two Washington lobbying firms to argue that the women’s national team is not being underpaid.

Last month two Democratic senators introduced legislation that would enforce equal pay for men and women’s national teams, but in response US Soccer has hired FBB Federal Relations and Vann Ness Feldman, two lobbying firms, to persuade lawmakers that the pay disparity debate is inaccurate, according to news website Politico.

In July the US retained the World Cup, defeating European champions the Netherlands after dominating the month-long tournament in France from start to finish. The victory further polarised the fight the US women’s team had taken to the federation in March in a federal class-action lawsuit, citing gender discrimination.

Twenty eight players joined the lawsuit, which contends that US Soccer discriminates by paying the women’s team less than the men’s equivalent ‘for substantially equal work and by denying them at least equal playing, training, and travel conditions; equal promotion of their games; equal support and development for their games; and other terms and conditions of employment equal to the MNT.”

In July the dispute between the women’s team and the federation intensified when US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro wrote in a letter that the women’s team had been paid more than the men’s team in the past decade.  “U.S. Soccer has, over the past decade, paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team in salaries and game bonuses, and we continue to make unprecedented investments in our women’s program,” wrote Cordeiro.

The boss of American football pointed to a figure of $34.1 million in salary and game bonuses paid to the women between 2010 and 2018. In comparison US Soccer distributed $26.4 million to the men during the same time, according to Cordeiro. The women’s team dismissed those claims and numbers as “utterly false”.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1566691525labto1566691525ofdlr1566691525owedi1566691525sni@t1566691525catno1566691525c1566691525