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US Soccer reaches 'historic' equal pay deal with men's and women's national teams after end of legal battle

US Soccer says men's and women's national teams will receive "identical economic terms" as a result of the new collective bargaining agreements; deal comes after end of legal battle between federation and women's side; the CBAs "have changed the game forever," says US Soccer president

LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Players of USA celebrate after winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United State of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images)
Image: US players celebrate after winning the 2019 Women's World Cup

US Soccer has reached an agreement with its men's and women's national teams that it says will achieve equal pay between the two sides.

The announcement comes after a long-running legal battle between US Soccer and the US women's team that was recently settled.

US Soccer says that "first of their kind" collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) have been agreed with the United States Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA) that will run until the end of 2028 and ensure men's and women's national team players receive "identical economic terms".

As part of the CBAs, a portion of the prize money the men's and women's sides receive for their participation in World Cups will be pooled and shared on an equal percentage.

In all official competitions, players will earn identical appearances fees. In all official competitions excluding the World Cup, players will receive identical bonuses and earn an equal amount of the total prize money when both teams play in the same competition.

For friendly games, men's and women's players will be paid the same appearance fees and performance payments, based on the outcome of the match and the rank of the opponent, with identical tiering structures.

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: United States forward Christian Pulisic (10) looks on in action during a World Cup Qualifier match between the United States and Panama on March 27, 2022 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando,FL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)
Image: Chelsea Christian Pulisic is a key player for the US men's team

As a result of the CBAs, women's national team players will no longer receive guaranteed salaries, and those who play in the National Women's Soccer League will cease to have their club salaries paid by US Soccer.

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US Soccer has also agreed to share a portion of its broadcast, partner and sponsorship revenue, with a 50/50 split of that share divided equally between the men's and women's sides.

Both teams will also be provided with equal quality of venues and pitches, while players will receive a share of the revenue from ticket sales for home games and a bonus for matches that sell out.

US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone said the CBAs "have changed the game forever," adding: "This is a truly historic moment.

"These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world.

"US Soccer and the USWNT and USMNT players have reset their relationship with these new agreements and are leading us forward to an incredibly exciting new phase of mutual growth and collaboration as we continue our mission to become the pre-eminent sport in the United States.

"I am grateful for the commitment and collaboration of both the men's and women's national teams and I am incredibly proud of the hard work that has led to this moment."

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 21: United States defender Becky Sauerbrunn (4) shows appreciation to the fans in attendance following the international friendly match between the USWNT and South Korea on Thursday October 21, 2021 at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Image: Becky Sauerbrunn - captain of the US women's side - hailed the "incredible efforts" of her team-mates to achieve equal pay

Becky Sauerbrunn, the US women's captain and president of the USWNTPA, said: "The accomplishments in this CBA are a testament to the incredible efforts of WNT players on and off the field.

"The gains we have been able to achieve are both because of the strong foundation laid by the generations of WNT players that came before the current team and through our union's recent collaboration with our counterparts at the USNSTPA and leadership at US Soccer.

"We hope that this agreement and its historic achievements in not only providing for equal pay but also in improving the training and playing environment for national team players will similarly serve as the foundation for continued growth of women's soccer both in the United States and abroad."

Walker Zimmerman, the US men's defender and part of the USNSTPA leadership group, said: "They said equal pay for men and women was not possible, but that did not stop us and we went ahead and achieved it.

"We hope this will awaken others to the need for this type of change and will inspire FIFA and others around the world to move in the same direction."

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