U.S. federation and women's team reach deal on working conditions


Posted at Dec 02 2020 11:16 AM

U.S. federation and women's team reach deal on working conditions 1
United States' players, most kneeling against racism, listen to their national anthem ahead of the women's friendly football match between the Netherlands and the United States of America (USA), at the Rat Verlegh Stadium in Breda, the Netherlands, on November 27, 2020. Dean Mouhtaropoulos, AFP.

The U.S. women's national team and U.S. Soccer Federation reached a settlement in their long-running lawsuit over working conditions on Tuesday although a dispute over equal pay continues.

The parties filed in court a proposed settlement in which U.S. Soccer agreed to implement various policies regarding working conditions for the women's team related to hotel accommodation, staffing, venues and travel.

"This is a good day. I hope that everyone sees that we are a new U.S. Soccer," Cindy Cone, a former player who became U.S. Soccer's president in March, told reporters on a call.

"Coming to the agreement on the working conditions was just the first step.

The next step, resolving the team's assertions that they are paid less than their male counterparts, could prove more difficult.

In May, the team vowed to appeal after a judge ruled that the World Cup champions were not underpaid compared to the men's team. Tuesday's settlement on working conditions means that appeal can now go forward.

The players are seeking $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act.

Cone said the players had so far been unwilling to negotiate on the pay part of their complaint.

"We've reached out to them... but unfortunately the response has been that they don't want to negotiate with U.S. Soccer unless we're willing to make up the FIFA World Cup prize money, which is the majority of $66 million that they are requesting in back pay," Cone said.

"It just isn't possible from U.S. Soccer's standpoint to make that up... it would likely bankrupt the federation."

Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the players, said they were pleased with the settlement and the team would continue to press their equal pay case.

"We now intend to file our appeal to the court's decision which does not account for the central fact in this case that women players have been paid at lesser rates than men who do the same job," she said.

"We remain as committed as ever to our work to achieve the equal pay that we legally deserve. Our focus is on the future and ensuring we leave the game a better place for the next generation of women who will play for this team and this country." 

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles and Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Fallon)