Players on the US women's national team are seeking more than $66 million in damages as part of their gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation, per the AP. The damages were included in slew of papers filed Thursday in US District Court in Los Angeles ahead of a May trial. Among the documents were the separate collective bargaining agreements of the US men's and women's teams, which had not previously been made public. The agreements showed a disparity in bonuses but also highlighted the different pay structures between the two teams. “Women’s national team players are paid differently because they specifically asked for and negotiated a completely different contract than the men’s national team, despite being offered, and rejecting, a similar pay-to-play agreement during the past negotiations,”US Soccer said in a statement.
Molly Levinson, spokeswoman for the plaintiffs, disputed the federation's assertions. “In the most recent CBA negotiation, USSF repeatedly said that equal pay was not an option regardless of pay structure,” Levinson said in a statement. “USSF proposed a 'pay to play structure' with less pay across the board. In every instance for a friendly or competitive match, the women players were offered less pay that their male counterparts. This is the very definition of gender discrimination.” The lawsuit has drawn worldwide attention. When the US won the World Cup final last summer in France, fans in the crowd chanted "Equal Pay! Equal Pay!" Earlier this month, the players union for the men’s team urged the federation to increase pay for the women's team, while also accusing the governing body of making low-ball offers in current contract negotiations with the men's team.
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