The US football governing body has secured historic collective bargaining agreements with its national men’s and women’s teams, securing equal remuneration on both sides.
On Wednesday, the US Soccer Federation announced that it had reached an agreement with both players’ associations that includes equivalent basic and performance compensation for players, equalised prize money for World Cup performances, and revenue sharing from commercial partnerships and ticket sales.
The labour agreements, which settle a years-long battle between US Soccer and the defending women’s World Cup winners, also include provisions for childcare benefits and standardised travel, field quality, and a safe working environment.
Becky Sauerbrunn, a member of the US Women’s National Team and president of the team’s players’ association, said the agreement would “serve as the foundation for continued growth of women’s soccer both in the United States and abroad”.
The labour agreements, which each last until the end of 2028, bring to an end a more than six-year fight for equal pay that began with a federal civil rights complaint filed by team members alleging wage discrimination in March 2016, and escalated with a 2019 lawsuit filed by members of the national women’s team against US Soccer.
During that time, the women’s national team won their fourth World Cup and earned $20 million more than the men’s national team, although being paid less. The United States men’s football team did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup and has never won the competition.
The conflict between the squad and its governing body drew considerable popular support in the United States, especially from politicians such as Hillary Clinton, and became a rallying cry within the stadium during the 2019 World Cup final.
As the fight heated up, blue-chip sponsors of US Soccer, including as Nike and Visa, increased marketing and financial support exclusively for the women’s squad.
Members of the national women’s team who filed the lawsuit, including football stars Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carla Lloyd, and others, reached a $24 million settlement in February, but said at the time that the terms were contingent on a new broader labour agreement with the federation.
US Soccer said the two new labour agreements were the first within Fifa to equalise World Cup prize money between men’s and women’s sides, and that the teams would be among the highest paid national football teams in the world, though exact pay scales were not disclosed.
“These new agreements are leading us forward to an incredibly exciting new phase of mutual growth and collaboration as we continue our mission to become the pre-eminent sport in the United States,” said Cindy Parlow Cone, president of US Soccer.