US women's soccer team sues US Soccer Federation

On March 8, 2019 the entire United States women’s national soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The basis for their case is that despite the fact that female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities for a single common employer, the USFF, the female players have consistently been paid less money than their male counterparts. This is the case even though the women’s national team has achieved unmatched success in international play, including world championships and substantial profits for the USSF. In light of the women’s team success they often spend more time practicing for and playing in matches, more time in training camps, more time traveling and more time participating in media sessions. Between 2015 and 2018 the women’s national team played in nineteen more games than the men’s national team during that same period, but nevertheless were still paid less than the men’s national team. In their complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, the players state, “The USSF has no legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for this gross disparity in pay, nor can it be explained away by any bona fide seniority, merit or incentive system or any other factor other than sex” and goes so far as to allege “institutionalized gender discrimination.” The players have also moved to certify a class action that could include all current and former players who have represented the women’s national team since February 5, 2015. The team will begin its world title defense in the coming months culminating in the Women’s World Cup, which begins in June.

This article was written with contributions from Tim Piscatelli.

International sports law and business blog

Updates on sports business and legal news from around the world.