May 1 (UPI) -- A federal judge in California dismissed the U.S. women's national soccer team's claim of unequal pay, according to a court filing.
Judge R. Gary Klausner of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Friday rejected the U.S. women's team's claim that it has been underpaid relative to the U.S. men's team, stating in his decision that the players "have not demonstrated a triable issue that WNT players are paid less than MNT players."
Klausner ruled that the players' additional allegations of unequal travel conditions and support services, including medical staff and training equipment, can still go to trial.
Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the players, said they plan to appeal the decision.
"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 Friday. "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. Words cannot express our gratitude to all who support us."
The lawsuit, filed in March, initially included 28 players who alleged that the federation used "institutionalized gender discrimination" toward the women's team. It was filed under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The plaintiffs were granted class status in November, meaning players from 2015 to the present day can be represented. In total, 72 women have opted into the class. The players have asked for more than $66 million in back pay and compensation.
"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," U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe said in a statement.
"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."
The original trial date of May 5 was postponed until June 16 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.