Rapinoe praises US men in support for equality fight


Orlando (AFP) – Megan Rapinoe thanked the US men’s national team for showing solidarity in their fight for equal pay on Thursday, adding she was “very confident” of a positive outcome in the long-running dispute.

The US women have been fighting since 2016 for equality with their male counterparts and are seeking backpay totalling nearly $67 million.

On February 12, the union representing the US men’s team issued a statement in support of the women, accusing the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) of engaging in a “false narrative” as the legal battle rumbles on.

A group of 28 players from the US women’s national team has filed a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit against US Soccer with a trial expected to begin in May.

Rapinoe, who has been leading the demands for equality, said the US women were grateful for the support from the US men.

“It was much appreciated,” Rapinoe told reporters ahead of the USA’s SheBelieves Cup opener on Thursday.

“(The men) have been a little light on statements before, you need to be educated if you weigh in and it seems like they took time to make the statement they wanted but I have been saying for a long time that we all have to stand together.

“They think they deserve more money too and they said that. If they are being underpaid it’s likely we are being underpaid too so it was a nice show of support and I look forward to more solidarity between the two teams.”

Asked by AFP if a positive resolution will be forthcoming shortly, Rapinoe added: “I don’t know about sooner rather than later but I am very confident of a positive outcome.”

Rapinoe’s team-mate, midfielder Julie Ertz also thanked the men for their support.

“We know our platform and how important it is to make it better on and off the field. You fight for what you believe is right,” Ertz said. “The support from the men is incredible. It’s important. We can’t do it alone. That was huge and great to hear.”

In last month’s statement, the US National Soccer Team Players Association said the USSF contined to “discriminate against the women in their wages and working conditions.”

“They’re trying to protect their monopoly, their massive revenue streams, and their continued ability to exploit US national team players,” the statement said. “It’s time for this to stop.”

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