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Hostile crowds a factor in equal pay row: US federation

Los Angeles (AFP) – The United States Soccer Federation says that having to play regularly in front of hostile crowds in Mexico and Central America is one reason why the US men’s national team should be treated differently to their female counterparts.

In a filing made in a federal court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the USSF said the fact that the men’s team routinely plays in intimidating arenas showed that their jobs were different to the women’s team.

The United States women’s team is suing the USSF, accusing the federation of gender discrimination and demanding $66 million in back pay under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act.

Both sides have requested a summary judgement from the judge presiding in the case, seeking a ruling in their favour before the May 5 trial in Los Angeles.

In its submission filed Tuesday, the USSF argues that the different work environments of the men’s and women’s teams was a reason why their jobs could not be regarded as the same under the Equal Pay Act.

“(Mens National Team) players routinely play matches (important World Cup qualifiers, in particular) throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean,” the filing says. “The WNT (Women’s National Team) does not.”

“Opposing fan hostility encountered in these MNT road environments, especially in Mexico and Central America, is unmatched by anything the WNT must face while trying to qualify for an important tournament.

“Even the hostility of fans at home crowds for the MNT in some friendlies can be unlike anything the WNT faces. This is all evidence of substantially different jobs under the EPA (Equal Pay Act).”

– ‘More responsibility’ –

The filing also argues that the job of a men’s soccer player “carries more responsibility within US soccer than the job of a WNT player, from an Equal Pay Act standpoint.”

Lawyers for the USSF cite television ratings to back the claim, arguing that US men’s national team games have attracted more than three times the number of viewers per game than women’s games since 2017.

On Saturday, USSF president Carlos Cordeiro released an open letter stating that the federation had “offered to provide identical compensation to our women’s and men’s players for all matches controlled by US Soccer.”

But Cordeiro said the issue of $66 million in back pay related to disparities in prize money awarded by FIFA for the men’s and women’s World Cups — an amount that the USSF could not afford to make up.

Germany won $35 million for their victory in the 2014 World Cup while France earned $38 million after triumphing in Russia in 2018.

The United States women, victors in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, earned total prize money of $6 million over the two tournaments.

“There is indeed a significant difference in World Cup prize money awarded by FIFA to the men’s and women’s championship teams,” Cordeiro wrote.

“However it is not reasonable or fiscally sound for US Soccer to make up the gap. It would seriously impair our ability to support our mission.”

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  1. Rover

    March 11, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    US Women are basically the tallest midgets in their sport. They had a 30year head start on other nations and continue to win cups by beating up on mediocre opposition. Yes, the Men&women should get equal expenses and benefits, but the women can’t expect mega salaries when the league they play in is on shaky financial ground. US soccer’s job is to develop the game at all levels, not create a handful of millionaires

  2. Chris

    March 11, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    I am so sick of Political Correctness. I am so sick of division and fake justice. If you were investing your money in 1 of 2 businesses and one of them had 5x the attendance and much higher viewership on tv and yet both had equal pay for their workers, which investment would you make?

    Sure, some of the comments were stupid but come on. It’s a sport and it’s a business. Don’t like it? Get your attendance and viewership up. If the women had higher higher viewership and attendance, then they should be paid more. Business is NOT a charity.

    • Footballer

      March 11, 2020 at 5:19 pm

      Even though in these times of “me too” movement among other feminist movements, your opinion is not the popular or is “frowned” upon, it is a basic concept, but you know women will maximize everything they can get even if it is not merited. BTW, winning WCs on a non existent football competition does not gain you any credibility unless you are the gullible sport fan who believes everything.

    • Robert

      March 11, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      The world cup had millions of viewers and the players from the other finalists got millions of dollars to split up. Where did that money go, ask U.S. Soccer?

  3. John G.

    March 11, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    The counter-programming running in commercials during the WNBA Finals… a league that is HEAVILY subsidized… had a bunch of pictures of famous female athletes… all of whom had two things in common. They are all out, and they are all believers in the radical feminist “separate but equal” fantasy. They want their own world with just as much money as a world with men in it without any men in it… and they want to use government as a blunt ax to obtain it.

    • Robert

      March 11, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      They actually want it on merit. They are the best in the world and should be treated as such!

      • Footballer

        March 11, 2020 at 5:15 pm

        Hahaha! Believe the hype.

        • Robert

          March 11, 2020 at 5:25 pm

          No, just look at the results, games won and trophy’s displayed.

  4. Dermot McQuarrie

    March 11, 2020 at 7:05 am

    What a ridiculous statement to make that playing in front of hostile crowds justifies more money. US Soccer needs to take a look at the world-wide derbies of Argentina, Italy, Spain and the Old Firm derbies in Glasgow ito name but a few if they want to see hostile crowds! Do those players get more money than the players for other teams?

    • NashRambler

      March 11, 2020 at 11:53 am

      You mention specifically the Old Firm derby and ask do these players get more money? The answer would be Yes. My understanding is that the players for Celtic and Rangers are the highest paid in the Scottish league.

      The biggest rivalries in each of the countries you mention would involve the biggest teams like River v Boca Juniors, Milan v Inter, Barca v Real and the answer would again be Yes the players on these teams get paid more relative to the other teams in their leagues.

  5. Kristopher Klassen

    March 10, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    I realize these comments by the USSF sound sexist and caveman like, but everything they stated is basically true

    • Robert

      March 11, 2020 at 8:49 am

      But totally not relevant, it is the quality of the game they play on the pitch, not what is happening in the stands !

  6. Robert

    March 10, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    People have wondered what happened to the Neanderthals. Well it seems they have been hiding in the offices of U.S. Soccer!

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