US Soccer Federation president Cindy Parlow Cone has sent an open letter encouraging the unions of both the men’s and women’s national teams to agree to equalise FIFA’s World Cup prize money.
World Cup prize money has been a contentious issue between the USSF and players since the federation decided that they were unable to divide the prize pot because it was controlled by FIFA.
Parlow Cone has therefore called on the men’s national team to allow the USSF to reallocate payments equally. The USSF president said she hoped the respective teams could come together and find “a solution that equalizes World Cup prize money between the USMNT and USWNT.”
“As a former player, I want to once again make it clear that I, along with all of U.S. Soccer, am 100% committed to equal pay for our national team players,” Parlow Cone stated.
“We remain steadfast in our dedication to ensuring equal pay for our national team.
“We’re focused on demonstrating this commitment through action. As a federation, we would much rather negotiate a single collective bargaining agreement with both the men’s and women’s teams, but since neither team has agreed to take that approach, we are moving forward separately with each Players Association.
“The massive discrepancy in FIFA World Cup prize money is by far the most challenging issue we continue to face in our parallel negotiations with the men’s and women’s national teams. While FIFA has made some impactful investments in the women’s game, the discrepancy in prize money remains stark.
“FIFA alone controls those funds, and U.S. Soccer is legally obligated to distribute those funds based on our current negotiated collective bargaining agreements with the men’s and women’s teams.”
These latest developments come after the US women’s team, led by Alex Morgan, sued the USSF in March 2019, arguing they had not been paid equitably under their collective agreement, compared to what the men’s team received.
The women asked for more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This claim was thrown out in May 2020, after a judge ruled that the women rejected a pay-to-play structure similar to the one in the men’s agreement and accepted greater base salaries than the men.
A three-judge panel is likely to hear oral arguments at some point later this year or next after the USWNT asked the 9th Circuit to overrule the trial court’s ruling.