US women head for court as wage mediation talks with USSF break down

August 15 – Mediation talks aimed at securing a better pay deal for female players in the United States are over according to the players who say they will now go to court amid an increasingly bitter war of words.

Some 28 players launched legal action in March alleging they were consistently paid less than their male counterparts even though their performances have been superior.

The lawsuit outlined years of institutionalised gender discrimination, claiming travel conditions, medical personnel, promotion of games and training are less favourable for female players, who have won the World Cup four times.

The two sides had hoped to resolve their differences but the women, fresh from defending their World Cup title in France, said hopes of a settlement have now been dashed.

Molly Levinson, who represents the players in the dispute with the US Soccer Federation, said in a statement that they are going for a jury trial.

“We entered this week’s mediation with representatives of USSF full of hope,” Levinson said.

“Today we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the federation’s determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behaviour.”

“It is clear that USSF, including its Board of Directors and President Carlos Cordeiro, fully intend to continue to compensate women players less than men.

“They will not succeed. We want all of our fans, sponsors, peers around the world, and women everywhere to know we are undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial.”

A spokesperson for USSF said they were disappointed mediation had broken down.

“We have said numerous times that our goal is to find a resolution,” spokesman Neil Buethe said in a statement.

“During mediation we had hoped we would be able to address the issues in a respectful manner and reach an agreement.

“Unfortunately, instead of allowing mediation to proceed in a considerate manner, plaintiffs’ counsel took an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach that follows months of presenting misleading information to the public in an effort to perpetuate confusion.”

“We value our players and have continually shown that, by providing them with compensation and support that exceeds any other women’s team in the world.”

“Despite inflammatory statements from their spokesperson, which are intended to paint our actions inaccurately and unfairly, we are undaunted in our efforts to continue discussions in good faith.”

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