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American football equalizes salaries with women and men

The US Soccer Federation has reached landmark agreements to pay its men’s and women’s teams equally, making the US national governing body the first in the sport to promise both genders an equal amount.

The federation on Wednesday announced separate collective bargaining agreements until December 2028 with unions for the two national teams, ending years of often acrimonious negotiations.

The men played under the terms of a CBA which expired in December 2018. The women’s CBA expired at the end of March, but talks continued after the federation and players agreed to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by some of the 2019 players. The settlement depended on the federation reaching employment contracts equalizing salaries and bonuses between the two teams.

Led by Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, American women have long called for gender equality.

“I feel a lot of pride for the girls who are going to see this grow up and recognize their value rather than having to fight for it. However, my father always told me that we were not rewarded for doing what we did. you’re supposed to do – and paying men and women equally is what you’re supposed to do,” USA striker Margaret Purce said. “So I’m not giving gold stars , but I’m grateful for this accomplishment and for all the people who have come together to make it happen.”

Perhaps the biggest sticking point was the World Cup prize money, which is based on a team’s progress through the tournament. While American women have succeeded on the international stage with back-to-back World Cup titles, FIFA prize money differences mean they have won significantly less than male winners. The Americans received a $110,000 bounty for winning the 2019 World Cup; the American men would have received $407,000 had they won in 2018.

The unions have agreed to pool FIFA payments for the Men’s World Cup later this year and the Women’s World Cup next year, as well as the 2026 and 2027 tournaments.

Each player will receive a corresponding game appearance fee, which the USSF says makes it the first federation to pool FIFA prizes in this way.

“We saw this as an opportunity, an opportunity to be leaders on this front and to join the women’s team and American football, so we’re delighted that this is how we were able to close the deal.” , said Walker Zimmerman. , a defender who is part of the leadership group of the National Team Players Association of the United States.

The women’s union projections call for compensation for a player under contract to increase by 34% from 2018 to this year, from $245,000 to $327,000. The 2023-28 average annual salary would be $450,000 for a player making all the rosters, with the possibility of doubling the figure in World Cup years depending on results.

The federation previously based the bounties on payments from FIFA, which provided $400 million for the 2018 men’s tournament, including $38 million for the French champion, and $30 million for the 2019 women’s tournament, including $4 million for the United States champion.

FIFA has increased the total to $440 million for the 2022 Men’s World Cup, and its president, Gianni Infantino, has proposed that FIFA double the women’s prize money to $60 million for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, in which FIFA increased the number of teams to 32. .

For current World Cup cycles, the USSF will pool funds from FIFA, taking 10% off the top, then splitting the rest equally among 46 players – 23 players on each team’s roster . For the 2026-27 cycle, the USSF reduction increases to 20% before the split.

After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the men qualified for this year’s World Cup in Qatar from November. The women’s team will be looking to qualify for this year’s 2023 World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Among the details:

— For smaller tournaments, such as those hosted by the North American governing body, players will earn identical game bonuses.

— For exhibition matches, players will receive appearance fees and corresponding performance payments based on the match result and opponent’s rank. Players who don’t dress will earn a fee equivalent to attending a national team training camp.

— The women waived the guaranteed base salaries that had been part of their CBA since 2005. Some players had received guaranteed annual salaries of $100,000.

“I think we’ve gotten past some of the terms that can make it look like we’ve lost something, but now our (professional) league is actually strong enough that we don’t need as many guaranteed contracts anymore, you know, we can be on a pay-to-play model instead,” Purce said.

— Childcare, provided for women for more than 25 years, will be extended to men during training camps and national team matches.

– Women and men will also receive a portion of ticket sales revenue for USSF-monitored matches, with bonuses for complete sales, and each team will receive a portion of broadcast, partner, and sponsor revenue.

– Players will receive a 401(k) plan and the USSF will match up to 5% of a player’s compensation, subject to IRS limits. This money will be deducted from the trading revenue shares.

“There were times when I thought it was all going to fall apart and then it all fell back into place and it’s a real honor for all the different groups that have come together, negotiating at one table” , said the president of the federation, Cindy Parlow Cone, a former national team. player who became head of the governing body in 2020. “I think that’s where the turning point really happened. Before trying to negotiate a CBA with women and then turn around and negotiate the CBA conditions with the men and vice versa was really difficult, I think the real turning point was when we finally ended up all in the same room, sitting at the same table, working together and collaborating to achieve this goal. “

The women ended six years of equal pay litigation in February in an agreement asking the USSF to pay $24 million, a deal conditional on the conclusion of new collective agreements.

As part of the settlement, the players will split $22 million, about a third of what they had claimed in damages. The USSF also agreed to create a $2 million fund to benefit female players in their post-football careers and charitable efforts to grow the sport for women.

Mark Levinstein, a lawyer for the men’s union, said the agreement ended “more than 20 years of federation discrimination against USWNT players”.

“Together with the USWNTPA, USMNT players have achieved what everyone said was impossible – an agreement that provides fair compensation for USMNT players and equal pay and working conditions for players in the USWNT,” he said. “The new management of the federation should be given huge credit for working with the players to reach these agreements.”


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