The U.S. women’s soccer team’s claims for equal pay were dismissed by a court on Friday, handing a victory to the United States Soccer Federation.
Judge R. Gary Klausner of the United States District Court for the Central District of California threw out players’ claims that they were underpaid in comparison with the men’s national team but allowed complaints of unfair medical, travel and training to proceed to trial.
“The WNT (Women’s National Team) has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the MNT (Men’s National Team) over the class period,” the court said in its summary judgment.
The judge, however, also ruled that players’ claims they do not receive equal treatment as the men when it comes to travel, training, housing and other areas could proceed.
The trial date is set for June 16.
Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players, said that they plan to appeal the decision.
“We are shocked and disappointed,” said Levinson. “We will not give up our hard work for equal pay.
“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.”
U.S. Soccer released a statement Friday saying it wanted to work with the team to “chart a positive path forward to grow the game both here at home and around the world.”
“U.S. Soccer has long been the world leader for the women’s game on and off the field and we are committed to continuing that work,” the federation said.
Players had been seeking $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act.
The women’s national team beat Netherlands to claim its fourth World Cup title last summer, as the stadium rang with chants of, “Equal Pay, Equal Pay,” catapulting its players into the spotlight.
Team co-captain Megan Rapinoe, who on Thursday appeared with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a live-streamed event tweeted: “We will never stop fighting for EQUALITY.”
Forward Tobin Heath wrote on social media: “This team never gives up and we’re not going to start now.”
The U.S national team’s long-running feud with U.S. Soccer has been a very public and bitter battle with athletes and celebrities, from Billie Jean King to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallying around the women’s cause.
Last month U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro resigned over language used in a court filing suggesting women possess less ability than men when it comes to soccer.
The language prompted an on-field protest by players, who wore their warmup jerseys inside out to obscure the U.S. Soccer logo prior to a game, and a critical response from several of the team’s commercial sponsors.
— Henry Nicholls (@HenryNicholls27) April 30, 2020
“For me I wanted to go away from the auction sort of thing, where the highest bidder wins it,” the top order batsman said.
“I wanted to make it a bit more inclusive and anyone can donate five or 10 dollars and go into the draw to win it.
“It all adds up. A lot of families and everyone in New Zealand is really feeling the pinch. It’s a small little thing and hopefully it can make a big difference.”
Earlier this month, England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler raised 65,100 pounds ($81,518) for two hospitals in London by auctioning the shirt he wore in the same final at Lord’s.