The US women’s football team’s claims for equal pay were dismissed by a court on Friday (May 1), handing a victory to the United States Soccer Federation.
Judge R. Gary Klausner of the United States District Court for the Central District of California threw out players’ claims that they were underpaid in comparison with the men’s national team. But he allowed complaints of unfair medical, travel and training to proceed to trial.
“The WNT (Women’s National Team) has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the MNT (Men’s National Team) over the class period,” the court said in its summary judgment.
The judge, however, also ruled that players’ claims that they do not receive equal treatment as the men when it comes to travel, training, housing and other areas could proceed.
The trial date is set for June 16.
Molly Levinson, a spokesman for the players, said that they plan to appeal against the decision.
“We are shocked and disappointed,” she said. “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 who play this sport will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender.”
US Soccer released a statement saying it wanted to work with the team to “chart a positive path forward to grow the game both here at home and around the world”.
“US 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,” the federation said.
Players had been seeking US$66 million (S$93.5 million) in damages under the Equal Pay Act.
The women’s team beat the Netherlands 2-0 to claim their fourth World Cup title last July, as the stadium in Lyon, France rang with chants of “Equal Pay, Equal Pay” catapulting the players into the spotlight.
Team co-captain Megan Rapinoe, who on Thursday appeared with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a livestreamed event, tweeted: “We will never stop fighting for EQUALITY.”
Forward Tobin Heath wrote on social media: “This team never gives up and we’re not going to start now.”
The US national team’s long-running feud with US Soccer has been a very public and bitter battle with athletes and celebrities, from Billie Jean King to congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, rallying around the women’s cause.
Last month, US Soccer president, Carlo Cordeiro resigned over language used in a court filing suggesting women possess less ability than men when it comes to football.
The language prompted an on-field protest by players, who wore their warmup jerseys inside out to obscure the US Soccer logo prior to a game, and a critical response from several of the team’s commercial sponsors.