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US women footballers' equal pay lawsuit to go to trial

The issue was centre stage as the team triumphed in the Women’s World Cup in France in July.

The US team triumphed at the World Cup during the summer.
The US team triumphed at the World Cup during the summer.
Image: Alessandra Tarantino

THE EQUAL PAY lawsuit filed by US women footballers against the US Soccer Federation has been scheduled to go to trial on 5 May, 2020, the players’ spokesperson said Monday.

The gender discrimination lawsuit regarding unequal pay and working conditions was filed on 8 March by 28 players, and Monday’s trial date, set by US District Judge R Gary Klausner in Los Angeles, comes a week after the players and the federation reached an impasse in mediation.

“We are pleased with the expeditious schedule that has been set by the Court and we are eager to move forward with this case,” Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the US women players, said in a statement. “We very much look forward to the trial in May 2020 when the players will have their day in court.

“We have every confidence that these world champion athletes will get what they legally deserve -— nothing less than equal pay and working conditions.”

The May date will put the jury trial amid the team’s build up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, although it remains possible a settlement could be reached before then.

SOCCER: JUL 24 NWSL - Houston Dash at Portland Thorns FC Portland Thorns fans show their support for equal pay demanded by the USNWT players during a recent game. Source: Diego Diaz

The issue was centre stage as the United States triumphed in the Women’s World Cup in France in July, chants of “equal Pay” raining down on the champions after they defeated the Netherlands in the final.

US lawmakers have proposed legislation that would block federal funding for the 2026 Men’s World Cup — to be hosted jointly by the United States, Mexico and Canada — until the federation pays its women’s national team “fair and equitable wages”.

A US Soccer spokesman said the federation was “continuing to work to find a resolution” to the dispute.

Federation president Carlos Cordeiro issued figures last month that he said showed US Soccer had compensated women more than men over the past decade, but the women players said the figures were misleading, noting they included salaries for National Women’s Soccer League play.

- © AFP, 2019

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