USWNT’s Equal Pay Lawsuit Is Dealt a Blow

The choose within the United States ladies’s soccer group’s equal pay lawsuit rejected the gamers’ most essential claims on Friday, delivering a crushing blow to the group’s four-year authorized marketing campaign towards the United States Soccer Federation.

The choose, R. Gary Klausner of United States District Court for the Central District of California, accepted the federation’s argument in what is named a movement for abstract judgment. In his ruling, he dismissed the gamers’ arguments that they had been systematically underpaid by U.S. Soccer as compared with the lads’s nationwide group. In reality, Klausner wrote, U.S. Soccer had substantiated its argument that the ladies’s group had truly earned extra “on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis” than the lads’s group in the course of the years at problem within the lawsuit.

The gamers, by means of a spokeswoman, mentioned they’d attraction the choice. U.S. Soccer, in a transient assertion, appeared to take little pleasure in what was a important, although probably unpopular, victory.

“We look forward to working with the women’s national team to chart a positive path forward to grow the game both here at home and around the world,” the assertion mentioned. “U.S. Soccer has long been the world leader for the women’s game on and off the field, and we are committed to continuing that work to ensure our women’s national team remains the best in the world and sets the standard for women’s soccer.”

Klausner’s ruling preserved the gamers’ claims about unequal remedy in areas like journey, resort lodging and group staffing. A trial on these points is scheduled to start June 16.

But in dismissing the equal pay argument that had been the center of the gamers’ case, Klausner delivered to an finish — for the second — a yearslong combat that had pitted the gamers towards their employer, and remodeled them from merely the world’s finest ladies’s soccer group into world standard-bearers for pay fairness, ladies’s rights and help for girls’s sports activities.

The gamers, together with stars like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd, eagerly embraced that combat. They leveraged their recognition and their large social media followings to rally supporters and, critically, U.S. Soccer sponsors to their side, and their years of media experience made them savvy spokeswomen for their cause.

But never far from view was the fact that tens of millions of dollars were potentially at stake, costs that the federation said would be ruinous for its efforts to develop the sport in the United States. As the case moved through the courts, haphazard efforts at mediating the dispute went nowhere, and when U.S. Soccer’s president at the time, Carlos Cordeiro, pressed for a new round earlier this year, the players rejected the idea out of hand.

Asked in March what it would take to avoid a trial this year, Rapinoe replied acidly, “An actual offer for equal pay, and some considerable damages as well.”

In the lawsuit, the team accused the federation of pervasive discriminatory treatment that affected everything from the players’ paychecks to the fields where they played and the hotels where they slept during tournaments.

U.S. Soccer long argued that the claims of discrimination were unfair. It said, accurately, that the players had negotiated their own pay and working conditions in a series of collective bargaining agreements, and it even produced fact sheets arguing that the female players had actually earned more than the men in recent years.

U.S. Soccer’s strategy — using bonus figures for a women’s team that had won the World Cup and a men’s team that had failed to qualify for one — struck many as a risky, and misguided, legal strategy.

Then came Klausner’s ruling on Friday, a crushing defeat.

Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players, said the team would appeal Klausner’s decision, perhaps as soon as Monday, and that it would press on with the issues that remained — lesser fights related to unequal travel, hotel accommodations, and coaching and medical staffing for the women’s squad.

“We are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay,” Levinson said in a statement. “We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women who play this sport will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender.

“We have learned that there are tremendous obstacles to change; we know that it takes bravery and courage and perseverance to stand up to them. We will appeal and press on.”

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