Court Battles

Judge rules US Women’s National Soccer Team has insufficient evidence for unequal pay case

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A federal judge ruled Friday that the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team does not have enough evidence to bring to trial its claims that its players are receiving unequal pay, dealing a significant setback to the team’s lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. 

U.S. District Court Judge Gary Klausner granted the federation’s motion for summary judgement to dismiss the payment component of the team’s lawsuit, only allowing their claims to discrimination based on travel conditions and medical and training support to move forward. 

“In sum, [US Soccer] has offered evidence in support of its Motion for Summary Judgment that the [women’s national team] has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the [men’s national team] over the class period,” Klausner ruled, adding that the evidence presented is “insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact for trial.” 

Among other things, the team told the court the players received smaller bonuses for friendlies and that they would have obtained more in their contracts if they had the same terms as the male players’ contracts. 

“We are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay. We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender,” tweeted Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the female players, adding that they will “appeal and press on.”

“If you know this team at all you know we have a lot of fight left in us. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy, change never is,” added Becky Sauerbrunn, a defender on the national team.

The soccer federation has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks after arguing that female players are less skilled than the male players.

The lawsuit was launched by 28 members of the women’s team who said gender discrimination was at play in the salary gap between them and the men’s team, even though they had had significantly more success in international tournaments like the World Cup.

Tags FIFA Sexism unequal pay United States Soccer Federation United States women's national soccer team
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