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USWNT files gender discrimination lawsuit against US Soccer

The USA women’s soccer team is stepping up its battle with the US Soccer Federation for equal pay and working conditions by filing a gender discrimination lawsuit against the governing body.

All 28 members of the current squad – including star players Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan – have filed the lawsuit at the United States District Court in Los Angeles, citing “institutionalised gender discrimination”.

Requesting back pay, damages and other relief – a bill that could reach millions of dollars – the players are also looking to represent anyone who has played for the women’s national team since February 4, 2015. The story was first reported by the New York Times.

This is the latest lawsuit that US Soccer is facing, following actions filed by the NASL and US Soccer Foundation. It also comes just months before the Women’s World Cup this summer in France.

Last October the Fifa Council approved an overall financial contribution of $50m (€44.5m) to the 24 teams playing in the event – more than tripling the $15m paid in the 2015 edition. This figure will consist of $30 million in prize money, the introduction of $11.5m in preparation to support the qualified teams in organising preparatory matches and $8.5m in payments to clubs to release players for the competition.

However, the announcement was criticised by FIFPro, the global players’ union, as well as by individual players and national governing bodies, for not being sufficiently far-reaching.

The Men’s World Cup has seen a 12 per cent rise in prize money, taking the overall pot to $400 million. This means the men and women’s events have a gender pay gap of $370m.

Further reading: Le Floc’hFifa Women’s World Cup sponsorship rights could be unbundled in 2022

Further reading: US Soccer launches seven-figure Volkswagen deal, invests in grassroots

*This story was amended on Monday 11 March, 2019. The original story suggested the Fifa Council would discuss further increases in prize money for the Women’s World Cup next week but Fifa says no such talks are planned.