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U.S. women's soccer team appeals court ruling on equal pay

The United States Women's National Team on Wednesday appealed a ruling by a California federal judge rejecting their claims that they are not paid equally to their male counterparts. File Pool Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI
The United States Women's National Team on Wednesday appealed a ruling by a California federal judge rejecting their claims that they are not paid equally to their male counterparts. File Pool Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

April 14 (UPI) -- The United States Women's National Team on Wednesday appealed a judge's decision in its equal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The appeal in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California challenges Judge R. Gary Klausner's ruling last year rejecting the women's team's claims that they are underpaid compared with their male counterparts.

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"This legal case is simple: for each win, loss, and tie that women players secure, they are paid less than men who play the same sport and who do the same work; that is gender discrimination," said Molly Levinson, a representative for the USWNT players. "In addition, the discovery record demonstrated -- including in depositions from current or former USSF executives and Board members -- that a pervasive atmosphere of sexism drove this pay discrimination."

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.

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In May, Klausner ruled against the women stating that the players "have not demonstrated a triable issue that WNT players are paid less than MNT players."

However, he ruled that the players' additional allegations of unequal travel conditions and support services, including medical staff and training equipment, can still go to trial.

On Monday, Klausner announced that the USWNT and the USSF had reached a settlement on the unequal working conditions case, paving the way for Wednesday's appeal.

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The USSF said following Monday's decision that it was prepared for the appeal on the equal pay issue but hopeful for an out-of-court resolution.

"U.S. Soccer is 100% committed to equal pay. We have offered the USWNT the identical compensation provided to our men's players for all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer," said USSF. "Unfortunately, the USWNT has not accepted our offer or our long-standing invitation to meet or try to find a resolution unless U.S. Soccer first agrees to make up the difference between the Men's and Women's World Cup prize money, which is determined, controlled and paid for by FIFA."

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