The United States Soccer Federation is placed under pressure by the national women’s soccer team for what they claim is discrimination based on gender concerning pay. The 28 female athletes have filed a lawsuit against the USSF earlier this year. The USSF has now hired two lobbying firms to counter these claims.
The Allegations against the USSF
The national women’s soccer team seems to remain in the spotlight even after the World Cup is over. Earlier this year they have filed a lawsuit against the USSF for gender discrimination. They allege that they are paid as little as 38% of what their male counterparts are being paid while doing the same kind of work. The 28 women claim to have not only smaller wages but also more impoverished working conditions and less investment into their sporting activities. During June it was decided between the two parties that they will mediate to resolve the matter.
New Legislation in Place
Last month during the glory days of the women winning the World Cup title for the US in France, new legislation was presented in the US House of Representatives as well as in the US Senate that required the USSF to pay both genders the equal amount of pay. This came with a bit of a threat as well, since the House Bill stated that funding for the 2026 World Cup would be withheld if the USSF failed to do so. The US, Mexico and Canada are the hosting countries for the 2026 World Cup.
The USSF Appointing Lobbying Firms
According to Neil Buethe, the USSF spokesperson, the USSF turned to these firms not to appeal the legislation, but indeed to be sure that the presented information is accurate. He further continued by stating that due to many requests for information from various policymakers, they decided to hire the companies, Van Ness Feldman and FBB Federal Relations to gather accurate data to deliver on these requests. It seems that the USSF is however hopeful that by picking the accurate information independently, that the leaders in these organizations would be convinced of the USSF’s constant support and investment into women’s football globally.
The Women’s Team’s Response
The players conveyed their disappointment in the USSF via their spokesperson, Molly Levinson. According to her, they are stunned that the USSF would use sponsor money in the process to advocate against legislation which would ensure that men and women are being paid equally.
The matter which complicates the entire process is that men’s and women’s contracts are structured differently, although both are negotiated through the process of collective bargaining. It seems that even though they have different structures, women are reaping the benefits. Carlos Cordeiro, USSF president, stated that between the period 2010 to 2018, $34.1 million were paid to the women’s teams and $26.4 million to the men’s teams. The women also have more added benefits than men. Hopefully, the lobbying firms would be able to accurately deliver information which would put the matter to an end soon.