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USWNT react as judge dismisses Equal Pay claim

Equal Pay saga: USWNT players react as judge dismisses lawsuit claim against USSF

May 2, 2020 By Ali M.
The women's national team received a huge blow in their legal dispute with the U.S. Soccer Federation after the judge presiding over the case ruled in favor of the latter.

The USWNT have received a huge blow in their equal pay lawsuit: the federal judge presiding over the case has thrown out their claims of gender-based discrimination. And now the superstars leading this campaign have responded!

Judge R. Gary Klausner of United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the plaintiff's biggest argument: that they are paid less than their male counterparts due to gender. Klausner not only ruled in favor of the U.S. Soccer Federation on that notion but also stated that the USSF provided substantial evidence for their argument that the women earned more "on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis" in comparison with the USMNT.

"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," Klausner wrote in his 32-page ruling.

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According to the judge, the @USWNT's "claim for discriminatory working conditions survives only insofar as it is based on (1) travel conditions (specifically, charter flights and hotel accommodation), and (2) personnel and support services (specifically, medical and training support)." . The court maintains that the #USWNT are not being discriminated against the #USMNT in terms of #EqualPay. @alexmorgan13, @mrapinoe, @tobinheath and @christenpress are among the USWNT stars who have reacted early to Friday's verdict, vowing to fight back. Follow @livesoccertv and turn notifications on for daily #footballnews updates.

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"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 federal judge added: "Merely comparing what WNT players received under their own CBA with what they would have received under the MNT CBA discounts the value that the team placed on guaranteed benefits they receive under their agreement, which they opted for at the expense of higher performance-based bonuses."

This ruling from the judge is a huge blow to the USWNT's fight, which has been growing in both popularity and support from the general public. In response to Klausner's decision, the plaintiffs' spokeswoman Molly Levinson admitted to being both "shocked" and "disappointed" but stressed they will appeal this decision, a fight they will now take to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The likes of Rapinoe, Morgan, Press, and Sauerbrunn were quick to respond on social media regarding the judge's ruling, stressing that this latest setback is not enough to thwart their fight. However, it was not all bad news for the USWNT as Klausner allowed claims of discriminatory travel accommodations and on support services – this entails medical and training staff – to go through.

The U.S. Soccer Federation issued a statement after this decision but took no joy after the ruling went in their favor. They stressed that they are eager to work with the USWNT to "chart a positive path forward to grow the game both here at home and around the world".

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