The settlement includes $2 million in funding for women’s soccer-related charities.
Players from the United States women’s national soccer team have settled their class action against the U.S. Soccer Federation for an estimated $24 million.
According to ESPN, both sides announced the tentative settlement in court filings on Tuesday.
In settling the lawsuit, the players will receive a lump-sum payment of $22 million, to be distributed in a manner determined by the women and approved by the district court judge overseeing the case.
In addition to this payment, the U.S.S.F. agreed to pay $2 million into an account that women’s team players might use to further their post-career goals. Each eligible player will be able to apply for up to $50,000 in additional compensation.
The same fund, notes ESPN, will also direct some money toward charities relating to women’s and girls’ soccer.
“What we set out to do,” said top-ranked women’s team player Alex Morgan, “was to have acknowledgment of discrimination from U.S. Soccer, and we received that through back pay in the settlement. We set out to have fair and equal treatment in working conditions, and we got that through the working conditions settlement. And we set out to have equal pay moving forward for us and the men’s team through U.S. Soccer, and we achieved that.”
Moving forward, the U.S.S.F. said that it is committed to providing equal pay rates for the men and women’s national teams “in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.”
As LegalReader.com has noted before, the Federation’s pay practices attracted widespread criticism: while soccer-related events and endorsements generate massive profits internationally, the sport’s relative lack of popularity in the United States marks an exception.
In the United States, the women’s national team regularly outperforms the men’s team, and is the predominant force in women’s soccer worldwide. Unusually for the sport, viewership of the U.S. women’s team’s top-level tournaments tends to far exceed viewership of the U.S. men’s team’s top-level tournaments.
Consequently, since the mid-2010s, the women’s national team has generated substantially more profit than the men’s national team. However, female players were typically paid less than their male counterparts.
ESPN reports that the women’s players’ union, the USWNTPA, called the settlement “an important step in righting the many wrongs of the past.”
“The USWNTPA congratulates the players and their litigation team on their historic success in fighting decades of discrimination perpetuated by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Although the settlement reached today is an incredible success, much work remains to be done,” the union said in a statement.