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Soccer: U.S. women, men to pool World Cup money, get equal pay

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Soccer: U.S. women, men to pool World Cup money, get equal pay
The U.S. Women's National Team and U.S. Men's National Team will receive identical compensation for all competitions as part of new collective bargaining agreements with the U.S. Soccer Federation. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

May 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. men's and women's national teams will receive equal pay and prize money as part of a new collective bargaining agreement, the United States Soccer Federation announced Wednesday.

"This is a truly historic moment," federation President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a news release. "These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world.

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"U.S. 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."

The move follows years of legal battles between the federation and more than two dozen members of the women's national team. U.S. Soccer is the first federation to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money.

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"The accomplishments in this CBA are a testament to the incredible efforts of WNT players on and off the field," women's team defender and players union President Becky Sauerbrunn said.

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

The men's and women's respective labor deals each run through 2028. They include identical economic compensation for roster appearances and performances in all competitions, based on the outcome of the match and rank of opponent.

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For the World Cup, the parties agreed to pool and share a portion of prize money paid for the teams' participation in the 2022 men's competitions and the 2023 women's competitions.

Players on those rosters will be paid an equal percentage of the collective prize money, which is provided globally by FIFA in uneven sums. The men's and women's teams will do that same thing for the 2026 Men's World Cup and 2027 Women's World Cup.

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The federation also agreed to provide equal quality of venues and field playing surfaces and "comparable budgets" for hotel accommodations for matches and camps for both teams. The teams also will be provided with an equal number of chartered flights during national team camps for travel to competitions.

The decision to provide equal pay comes three months after women's team players settled their gender discrimination lawsuit against the federation.

As part of that settlement, the federation agreed to pay $22 million to the 28 women's players who filed the suit and $2 million to create a fund for women's and girl's soccer programs.

Women's players asked for $67 million in their 2019 lawsuit, which reached class-action status. Judge R. Gary Klausner issued a partial summary judgment, which dismissed most of the players' claims, in May 2020 at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Pasadena.

"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," Sauerbrunn said.

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The U.S. men's team will face Morocco in a friendly on June 1 at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati. The men's team will start group play at the 2022 World Cup at 2 p.m. EST Nov. 21 at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar. The Men's World Cup final will be Dec. 18 at Lusail Stadium in Doha.

The women's team will face Colombia in a friendly at 7:30 p.m. EDT June 25 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

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