A federal judge ruled against the United States Women's National Team on Friday in its case against U.S. Soccer in a dispute over unequal pay between the men's and women's teams. The judge also rejected the claim that the women's team was dealing with unequal working conditions by playing on turf.
USA Today's Nancy Armour posted a quote from the USWNT's spokeswoman after the ruling was announced.
USWNT spokeswoman Molly Levinson says she's "shocked and disappointed" with decision and they will appeal. "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"— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) May 1, 2020
What the judge didn't do, however, is dismiss claims of USSF breaking the Civil Rights Act. The USWNT can move forward with claims of discrimination with regards to charter flights, hotel accommodations, as well as medical and training support services. Here is how U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner described his Friday judgment in his 32-page decision.
"The history of negotiations between the parties demonstrates that the WNT rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the MNT, and the WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players.
"Accordingly, plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their CBA worse than the MNT CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT's pay-to-play terms structure when they themselves rejected such a structure."
The USWNT was seeking $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as the team believed its collective bargaining agreement did not pay its players equally as the men's team. During the trial, USSF tried to argue that the women's team hadthan the men's team and that playing men's soccer required more skill. Prior to a game against Japan in the She Believes Cup, the USWNT players wore their warmup uniforms inside out as a .
A trial for the claims not rejected is scheduled for June 16 in a Los Angeles federal court. However, the USWNT will look to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn this decision, potentially delaying that trial date.
"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," Levinson said in a statement to reporters.