Five players from the World Cup-winning U.S. national team have accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of wage discrimination in an action filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo maintain in the EEOC filing they were paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts on the U.S. men’s national team. The filing was announced Thursday in a statement from the law firm representing the players.
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The union representing the players is currently involved in a legal dispute with U.S. Soccer over the terms of their collective bargaining agreement. The federation filed a lawsuit this year seeking to clarify that its contract with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association runs through the Rio Olympics until Dec. 31. The union maintains the memorandum of understanding agreed to in March 2013 can be terminated at any time.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Solo said in a statement. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup Championships, four Olympic Championships, and the USMNT get paid more just to show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, one of the attorneys representing the players, claimed that the state of the negotiations over the CBA created the need for the women to act in hopes of ending what they say is the “discriminatory and unfair treatment” they have endured for years on behalf of all female athletes.
“While we have not seen this complaint and can’t comment on the specifics of it, we are disappointed about this action,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement Thursday. “We have been a world leader in women’s soccer and are proud of the commitment we have made to building the women’s game in the United States over the past 30 years.”
The U.S. women’s team, which has qualified for this summer’s Olympics in Brazil, is currently in Florida training for a pair of exhibition games against Colombia.