“It is clear that USSF, including its Board of Directors and President Carlos Cordeiro, fully intend to continue to compensate women players less than men,” the statement read.
Levinson closed by addressing the team’s fans, sponsors and soccer players and women around the world, writing: “We’re undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial.”
The USSF countered with a statement characterizing Levinson’s remarks as “inflammatory” and “intended to paint our actions inaccurately and unfairly.”
Neil Buethe, USSF spokesman, reiterated the federation’s hope that mediation would produce an agreement.
“Unfortunately, instead of allowing mediation to proceed in a considerate manner, plaintiffs’ counsel took an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach that follows months of presenting misleading information to the public in an effort to perpetuate confusion,” Buethe said.
“We always know there is more we can do. We value our players and have continually shown that by providing them with compensation and support that exceeds any other women’s team in the world.”
The U.S. women filed a 25-page lawsuit March 8, roughly three months before they won their second consecutive World Cup. In the complaint, attorneys for the players argued that the USSF provided the women inferior wages, working conditions and investment in their game despite the fact that players did essentially the same job as the U.S. men’s national team.
It was a risky decision to file the suit just three months before the World Cup began, but as the tournament unfolded, there was no evidence that their legal action or any tension with their bosses distracted their focus. On the contrary, the team set scoring records from their opening match. And support for the equal pay fight gained traction with each victory — particularly when their record of four Olympic gold medals and, now, four World Cup championships is compared with that of the U.S. men’s team, which has never reached a World Cup final or won an Olympic medal.
On June 20, roughly midway through the tournament, both sides confirmed they had reached a tentative agreement to pursue mediation.
For now, however, it appears talks toward a resolution are off.
If the conflict is resolved by a jury, it may favor the players, who won legions of fans for the grit, passion and athletic dominance they displayed over the month-long World Cup in France.
Chants of “Equal Pay! Equal Pay!” erupted among fans in the sellout crowd of 57,900 at Stade de Lyon on July 7 when their victory over the Netherlands was sealed, clinching their fourth World Cup.
And it has been a rousing theme at each of their celebratory stops since, including their July 10 ticker-tape parade in New York and the Aug. 3 opener of their “Victory Tour” at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
It’s difficult to directly compare the salaries of the U.S. women with those of the men because they are compensated under different contract structures. The women reached their compensation formula under a 2017 collective bargaining agreement, requesting and receiving a guaranteed salary and benefits.
The USSF has hired two Washington lobbying firms to help rebut the women’s claim that their compensation is inferior to that of the men’s squad.