On Tuesday, representatives of the US men’s and women’s national teams signed a historic collective bargaining agreement with the United States. Football has officially ended the long and sometimes bitter battle over equal pay.
In May the federation announced that it had reached separate agreements with the players’ unions on a contract until 2028. The new deal includes an identical pay structure for appearances and tournament wins, revenue sharing, and an equitable distribution of World Cup prize money.
A friendly match with Nigeria was followed by a signing ceremony at Audi Field in Washington, which was attended by Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.
“This is going to affect more than just soccer,” stated the U.S. Soccer President and former national team player, Cindy Parlow Cone. “This is going to affect other sports and other business industries.”
In 2019, after years of fighting for fair pay and treatment, American women filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against American football. The lawsuit received international attention, and fans started shouting “Equal Pay!” when the USA won the Women’s World Cup final in France.
The two sides finally settled the lawsuit in February, when U.S. Soccer agreed to pay the woman $24 million. However, the agreement was dependent on the signing of new employment contracts with both teams.
The men played under the terms of the CBA, which expired in December 2018. The woman’s CBA expired at the end of March, but talks resumed after the legal dispute was resolved.
About Negotiations and the Mortifying Wage Disparity
The toughest part of the negotiations had to be the World Cup prize money, which depended on how far the teams have progressed in football’s most prestigious competition. The U.S. women’s team has enjoyed success on the international stage with her second consecutive World Cup title, but they have won far less than the men’s winners due to the disparity in FIFA prize money.
The American woman received a $110,000 bonus for winning her Cup of the Worlds 2019. The US man would have received $407,000 had he won in 2018. The unions have agreed to pool FIFA’s payments for the men’s World Cup later this year and the women’s World Cup next year, additionally, the 2026 and 2027 tournaments will be included as well.