Anne M. PETERSON and RONALD BLOOM
The U.S. Football Federation has reached important agreements on equal pay for men’s and women’s teams, making the U.S. national governing body the first in the sport to promise both sexes equal money.
On Wednesday, the federation announced separate collective agreements until December 2028 with unions for both national teams, ending years of often tough negotiations.
The men played on the terms of the CBA, which expired in December 2018. The CBA for Women expired in late March, but negotiations continued after the federation agreed to settle a lawsuit on sex discrimination filed by some players in 2019. The calculation depended on the federation concluding employment contracts that equated pay and bonuses between the two teams.
“I feel great pride for the girls who will see it grow and recognize their value, not fight for it. However, my dad always told me that you are not rewarded for what you do, and paying men and women equally is what you should do, ”said American forward Margaret Pierce. “So I don’t give any gold stars, but I’m grateful for that achievement and for all the people who came together to do it.”
Perhaps the biggest commentary was the prize fund of the World Cup, which is based on how far the team has advanced in the tournament. Although women from the US have been successful in the international arena, bringing out the units of the World Cup titles, the difference in FIFA prize funds meant they took home far less than the winners from the men.
The unions have agreed to combine FIFA payments for the Men’s World Cup later this year and the Women’s World Cup next year, as well as for the 2026 and 2027 tournaments.
Each player will receive a corresponding fee for appearing in the game, which, according to the USSF, makes it the first federation to pool FIFA prize money in this way.
“We saw it as an opportunity, an opportunity to be a leader on this front and join the women’s side and U.S. football. So we are just delighted that this is how we were able to reach an agreement, “said Walker Zimmerman, a defender who is a member of the leadership of the Association of Players of the US national team.
Earlier, the federation based bonuses on payments to FIFA, which allocated $ 400 million for the men’s tournament in 2018, including $ 38 million – the French champion, and $ 30 million – for the women’s tournament in 2019, including $ 4 million – the US champion.
FIFA has increased the total to $ 440 million for the 2022 Men’s World Cup, and its president Gianni Infantino has proposed that FIFA double the women’s prize pool to $ 60 million at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, at which FIFA has increased the number of teams to 32.
For the current World Cup cycles, the USSF will pool FIFA funds, taking 10% from the top and then splitting the rest equally between 46 players – 23 players on each team’s list. In the 2026-2027 cycle, the USSF slice increases to 20% before separation.
Having missed the 2018 World Cup, the men qualified for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, which began in November. The women’s national team will try to qualify for the 2023 World Cup this year, which is jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
In smaller tournaments, such as the governing body of North America, players will receive the same game bonuses. And for show games, players will receive appropriate fees for appearance and performance pay based on match results and opponent rank. Players who do not get dressed will receive a fee equivalent to participating in the training camp of the national team.
The women have given up the guaranteed base salary that has been part of their CBA since 2005. Some players were guaranteed an annual salary of $ 100,000.
“I think we’ve outgrown some conditions that might look like we’ve lost something, but now our (professional) league is actually strong enough where now we don’t need so many guaranteed contracts, you know, we can be on more models with pay for the game, ”Peirce said.
Childcare, which covers women over the age of 25, will apply to men during training camps and national team matches.
Women and men will also receive a portion of the commercial revenue from tickets to USSF-controlled matches, with bonuses for sold-outs, and each team will receive a portion of the proceeds from broadcasts, partners and sponsors.
Players will receive a 401 (k) plan, and the USSF will be eligible for up to 5% player compensation under IRS limits. This money will be deducted from the share of commercial revenue.
“There were times when I thought it would fall apart and then again, and it’s a real credit to all the different bands coming together to negotiate at the same table,” said federation president Cindy Parlowe Cohen, a former national team player. a player who became the head of the governing body in 2020. “I think there was a turning point here. It used to be really hard to try to negotiate a CBA with women and then turn around and negotiate a CBA terms with men and vice versa. I think the real turning point was when we all finally found ourselves in the same room, sitting at the same table, working together and collaborating to achieve that goal. ”
The women stopped a six-year lawsuit for equal pay in February over a deal that required USSF to pay $ 24 million, depending on the conclusion of new collective agreements.
Under the agreement, players will share $ 22 million, about one-third of what they demanded as compensation. The USSF has also agreed to set up a $ 2 million fund to benefit players in their post-football careers and charitable efforts to advance women’s sports.
Mark Levinstein, a lawyer for the men’s union, said the agreement stopped “more than 20 years of federal discrimination against USWNT players.”
“Together with USWNTPA, USMNT players have achieved what everyone said is impossible – an agreement that provides fair compensation to USMNT players and equal pay and equal working conditions for USWNT players,” he said. “The new leadership of the federation must receive a huge credit for working with the players to reach these agreements.”
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