The United States women’s national soccer team has reached a settlement with US Soccer, ending a six-year battle over equal pay.
Under the terms of the agreement, the players will share $22 million (£16.2 million) in payments from US Soccer.
The bulk of the money comprises compensation for the years of unequal pay between the men and women’s team.
US Soccer will also pay an additional $2 million (£1.5 million) to the players for post-career goals and charitable initiatives.
Several dozen current and former women’s national team players make up the group which will receive this money, with each player eligible for up to $50,000 (£37,000).
In addition, US Soccer has pledged to equalise pay between the men’s and women’s national teams in all competitions, including the World Cup, in the teams’ next collective bargaining agreements.
In exchange for this, the female players agreed to release the US Soccer from all remaining claims in the team’s gender discrimination lawsuit.
One sticking point may be that the men’s players association will have to agree to share, or surrender, millions of dollars in potential World Cup payments from FIFA.
The USMNT have previously backed their female counterparts’ campaign for equal pay, however.
“For our generation, knowing that we’re going to leave the game in an exponentially better place than when we found it is everything,” said Megan Rapinoe.
“That’s what it’s all about because, to be honest, there is no justice in all of this if we don’t make sure it never happens again.”
The USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against US Soccer in March 2019, seeking £52.8m ($66m) in damages under the Equal Pay Act.
They claimed US Soccer had engaged in “institutionalised gender discrimination”, which “has caused, contributed to, and perpetuated gender-based pay disparities”.
The lawsuit was knocked back in May 2020, however, when US District Judge R Gary Klausner dismissed USWNT’s claims. This decision was then appealed.
The USWNT have won both the Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games a record four times.
In contrast, the USMNT have never won the World Cup, exiting the tournament in the round of 16 in 2010 and 2014. They failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.