The American Football Federation has taken a big step in the battle for equal pay around its two senior national teams. Now we’ll see if it’s what both teams want.
US Soccer announced on Tuesday that it has offered identical contract proposals to both the United States Women’s National Team Players Association and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (representing the USMNT), with the aim of uniting the two teams under a single collective bargaining agreement. agreement.
In the release, the federation said it believes this structure is the best way forward:
US Soccer firmly believes that the best way forward for all involved, and for the future of the sport in the United States, is a single pay structure for both senior national teams. This proposal will ensure that USWNT and USMNT players continue to be among the highest paid senior national team players in the world, while also providing a revenue-sharing structure that allows all parties to start afresh and collectively share in the opportunities that combined investments provide. in the future of US Football will deliver in the course of a new CBA.
If either party does not agree with the proposal, US Soccer says it will invite any union to participate in the negotiations between its counterpart and the federation for full transparency.
The USWNT and US Soccer have been embroiled in a battle for equal pay for years, from courtrooms to social media. For the most part, the USMNT has expressed its support for the much more successful women’s team, to the point that the union submitted an amicus brief stating that the women should be paid more.
The USWNT’s collective bargaining agreement expires after this year, while the USMNT plays under a collective labor agreement that expired in 2018.
While both teams receiving the exact same pay structure may seem like the end of the line for this dispute, there may still be reasons why the proposal may be unpalatable to some involved, primarily due to economic factors beyond US Soccer’s control.
Will there be any changes for the USWNT?
The USWNT’s equal pay debate is complex and multifaceted, with the definition of “equal pay” for the players being questioned. That’s because more parties than just US Soccer control the income of the players involved, such as: Yahoo Sports’ Caitlin Murray rolled out last year.
The USMNT is made up of players who spend most of their time playing for men’s clubs in the US and Europe, which pay quite well compared to their national team. The USWNT is made up of players who play for teams with significantly shallower pockets in the NWSL and other leagues, making their national team salaries very important to their winnings.
That uneven ground has meant that each team has played under very different conditions over the years. The men’s team is largely offset by bonuses, receiving $17,625 per friendly to over $1 million per player if they win the World Cup. Meanwhile, under the USWNT’s CBA, players receive much smaller bonuses ($3,500 per game), but are backed by $100,000 annual salaries.
Both systems made some sense, as male players could take the less stable but potentially more lucrative system for what amounts to a side gig, while USWNT players gave a higher priority to stability.
To make the situation worse is: FIFA’s Highly Unfair Bonuses for each side’s respective World Cup, which is paid more than 10 times to the men than to the women. This came to the fore when Australia was figuring out its own fight against equal pay, which led to the new system completely ignoring FIFA prize money. The two teams are paid equally… except in FIFA events.
US Soccer said in its statement that it also wants to tackle the FIFA problem:
In addition, US Soccer has again appealed to the players and both players’ associations to join the Federation in finding a way to level the FIFA World Cup prize money between the USMNT and the USWNT. US Soccer will not agree to a collective bargaining agreement that does not take the important step to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money.
The federation’s proposal gives the women’s team the opportunity to move from that salary-based compensation structure to a bonus-based structure, something they have shown interest in in the past. Passing the deal could still be negative for players’ finances, however, depending on how US Soccer’s proposed revenue distribution would work.
USWNT still suing US Soccer
While US Soccer offers identical contracts, the USWNT players continue their battle in court, most recently with an appeal against the summary judgment that dismissed most of their Equal Pay Federation lawsuit.
Agreeing to drop lawsuits against the federation could be part of the USWNT’s influence in CBA negotiations, although there is a fairly large gap that needs to be closed when one side wants $66 million in back pay.