US men's soccer union issues statement backing USWNT on equal pay
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The union representing players on the U.S. men’s soccer team said Wednesday the U.S. Women’s National Team should be paid “significantly more,” while attacking the country's soccer federation as selling a "false narrative."

“The Federation has been working very hard to sell a false narrative to the public and even to members of Congress," the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association said in a statement. "They have been using this false narrative as a weapon against current and former members of the United States Women's National Team."

Twenty-eight players from the women’s team, which won a record-breaking fourth Women’s World Cup in July, are in a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The players allege the federation is engaging in “institutionalized gender discrimination.” 

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The men’s union statement said the women’s 2017-2021 deal is worse than the one given to the men’s team in 2011-2018. 

“What we believe should happen is simple. Pay the women significantly more than our recently expired men’s deal,” the union said. “In our estimation, the women were due at least triple what our expired deal was worth in player compensation.”

The union also called for reforms within the federation.

“The Courts, juries, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Congress, new Federation leadership, or a combination of all five need to reform the Federation. The exploitation of athletes to generate revenues that are siphoned off to benefit owners of for-profit leagues and teams, Federation personnel with massive above-market salaries and bonuses, and self-promoting all-expenses-paid Federation ‘volunteers,’ must end,” it said. 

The union called on supporters to tell the Federation's sponsors it will not support them until the federation “starts doing the right thing.” The union also urged supporters to write to congressional representatives and tell them to reformat the Federation. 

A spokesperson for the U.S. Soccer Federation was not immediately available for comment 

Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the 28 players involved in the lawsuit, released a statement to ESPN on behalf of the team’s star player Megan Rapinoe

“Our great hope is that 2020 will be the year of equal pay. We are grateful for the support of our male colleagues, and also for the overwhelming solidarity from millions of fans and sponsors around the world who have stood with us to fight USSF's discrimination,” the statement said. "Achieving equal pay is so much bigger than our team and our playing fields -- women in workforces everywhere deserve equality now."