USA Women 'eagerly look forward' to equal pay jury trial in USSF row
"We won't accept anything less than equal pay," says World Cup star Megan Rapinoe
Last Updated: 15/08/19 9:44pm
USA Women are "eagerly looking forward to a jury trial" over equal pay against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
Some 28 players who contributed towards the USA's World Cup triumph earlier this summer, winning the tournament back-to-back and registering their fourth world title overall, took the USSF to court in March, suing the federation for gender discrimination.
The No 1 ranked team in the world argue they are consistently paid less than their male counterparts, who are ranked No 22 in the world, with a third-placed finish in 1930 constituting the men's team's best World Cup performance to date.
The lawsuit outlined years of institutionalised gender discrimination, claiming travel conditions, medical personnel, promotion of games and training are less favourable for female players than for their male counterparts.
Both USA Women and the USSF had hoped to resolve the issue in mediation but the team, fresh from defending their World Cup title in France, said hopes of a settlement had been dashed on Wednesday.
"Today we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the Federation's determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behaviour," players' spokesperson Molly Levinson said in a statement.
"It is clear that USSF, including its Board of Directors and President Carlos Cordeiro, fully intend to continue to compensate women players less than men.
"They will not succeed. We want all of our fans, sponsors, peers around the world, and women everywhere to know we are undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial."
USA Women co-captain Megan Rapinoe told ABC's Good Morning America programme that she was optimistic the two organisations could still reach an agreement.
"They're the only employer that we could have playing for the national team, we're the only employees that they could have, so for better or for worse, we're tethered together," Rapinoe said.
"I think that if and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward, we're always open to that.
"We won't accept anything less than equal pay," she added.
"We show up for a game - if we win the game, if we lose the game, if we tie the game, we want to be paid equally, period."
A spokesperson for the USSF said they were disappointed mediation had broken down.
"We have said numerous times that our goal is to find a resolution," spokesman Neil Buethe said in a statement to Yahoo Sports.
"During mediation, we had hoped we would be able to address the issues in a respectful manner and reach an agreement.
"Unfortunately, instead of allowing mediation to proceed in a considerate manner, plaintiffs' counsel took an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach that follows months of presenting misleading information to the public in an effort to perpetuate confusion."
SSN have approached USSF for comment.