The US Football Association announced on September 14 that it had offered identical contracts to the players’ associations of the men’s and women’s national teams in response to the ongoing struggle for pay equity.

In a statement, US football said the goal of aligning both teams with a single collective agreement and pay structure is to ensure that male and female players “are among the highest-paid senior national team players in the world and one structure at the same time.” bid for a share of the turnover “. “, Which means that both teams can benefit from future investments.

“This is definitely a big step forward,” says Leeja Carter, a feminist movement and sports psychologist at Temple University “fair” in the past.

New contracts announced during the ongoing struggle for pay equity

The U.S. Football Association’s announcement follows a series of legal disputes led by female players over fair pay. In 2019, members of the U.S. women’s team sued the association for gender-based discrimination. Although asked to perform the same duties as male players – and do better on the field – “the female players were consistently paid less than their male counterparts,” the lawsuit argued.

The US women’s team became world champions a few months after the lawsuit was filed and won the FIFA World Cup ™ for the second time in a row. (They also won in 2015.) The men’s team did not qualify for the same competition a year ago and has never won a world championship.

A federal judge dismissed the majority of the players’ lawsuits last May, arguing that there was insufficient evidence that the US women’s team was unevenly rewarded and that they “performed the [men’s] Players do not receive ”, through their union agreement. The US Women’s Team has now appealed this decision, and their appeal is supported by a Friend of the Court Amicus brief filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Justice really is the way we redistribute power,” says Carter. “Should the players get the same amount if they perform better?”

Salary differences in the prize money remain

In its announcement, the US federation said it would not agree to any collective bargaining agreement that “does not take the important step of equalizing the FIFA prize money,” referring to the significant pay gaps that still exist between male and female football players take part in the competitions world stage.

At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, FIFA awarded a total of US $ 15 million; this money pool doubled to $ 30 million in 2019. After the US Women’s victory in 2019, FIFA President Gianni Infantino again pledged to double the prize money for the 2023 tournament. But those cash rewards still pale in comparison to what was offered to male competitors. The prize pool for the 2018 Men’s World Cup was around $ 400 million and is set to rise to $ 440 for the tournament in Qatar next year.

In a September 10 letter, US Football Association President Cindy Cone said that “the World Cup prize money decision” is the “key” to bargaining with men’s and women’s football teams.

“Until FIFA equates the prize money to the women and men participating in the World Cup, we have to find a solution together,” she said.