July 30, 2019 / 7:25 PM / a month ago

Soccer: U.S. men's team supports women's squad in equal-pay fight

(Reuters) - The U.S. men’s team on Tuesday accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of refusing to pay national team players a fair share of generated revenue as they gave their support to the women’s squad in their equal-pay lawsuit.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Round of 16 - Spain v United States - Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims, France - June 24, 2019 Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

The women's team filed their lawsuit in March and will soon head into mediation with U.S. Soccer, whose president said on Monday in an open letter here that the body had paid the women's team more than the men's team in recent years.

The United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA), the labour organisation for members of the men’s national team, said it was not impressed with the details of Carlos Cordeiro’s letter.

“This is more of the same from a Federation that is constantly in disputes and litigation and focuses on increasing revenue and profits without any idea how to use that money to grow the sport,” the USNSTPA said in a statement.

“One way to increase profit unfairly is to refuse to pay national team players a fair share of the revenue they generate.”

The U.S. Soccer Federation did not immediately respond when asked to comment.

Cordeiro said in his letter that analysis of financial data showed the women’s team were paid $34.1 million (£28 million) from 2010-2018 in salaries and bonuses compared to $26.4 million (£21.7 million) for the men’s team over the same period.

The letter stated the totals do not include money received by U.S. Soccer from FIFA for World Cup bonuses and that if that money is included, the men earned $41 million during the same 2010-2018 period compared to $39.7 million for the women.

Each member of the women’s team, that won a record-extending fourth World Cup three weeks ago, were named as plaintiffs in federal court when their lawsuit was filed.

It included complaints about wages and nearly every other aspect of their working conditions .

The players, including Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, said they have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts even though their performance has been superior to the men’s team.

The lawsuit alleges years of institutionalised gender discrimination, and says travel conditions, medical personnel, promotion of games and training are less favourable for female players compared to their male counterparts.

“The only solution Mr. Cordeiro proposes is for fans to buy more tickets and watch more games on television,” the USNSTPA said.

“He conceals the fact that the money will not go to USWNT players when sponsors pay the Federation to support the USWNT, fans buy tickets to USWNT games at ever-increasing ticket prices, and television companies pay more when more fans watch USWNT games. That is neither fair nor equitable.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis

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