US Soccer claims it won't pay women equally because being a male player requires more skill

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'In its ongoing battle with the women's national team over equal pay, the US Soccer Federation says male players have "more responsibility" and the men's team "requires a higher level of skill" than their female counterparts.

The federation made that argument in court documents filed Monday opposing a summary judgment in the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the US Women's National Team against the federation in March 2019.
According to the court filing, the job performed by players on the women's team requires less skill, effort and responsibility than the one performed by players on the men's team.

The lawsuit is seeking more than $66 million in damages. A trial is scheduled to begin in May barring a resolution to the dispute.
In the court filing, attorneys for the USSF say it is not a "sexist stereotype" to recognize the different levels of speed and strength required for the two jobs. Rather, it is "indisputable science" that explains why the men have a greater physical ability to compete at their level than the women do at theirs, the filing says.

The filing maintains that laws governing equal pay "explicitly applies to jobs that require equal skills, and not to employees that possess equal skills."
Lawyers for the federation also wrote in the filing that the men's team brings in more revenue. The prize money payout the men's team takes in from winning FIFA-sponsored games far exceeds any amount that the women could receive, even by winning the Women's World Cup, according to the filing.

Prize money for World Cup is set by FIFA, which oversees the global game, and is paid to the winner's federation, not to the players.

Television viewership for men's games is higher and that the organization receives more broadcasting revenue from the men's games aired on TV, according to the filing.
US Soccer is required to "pay a $100,000 annual salary to a minimum number of 'WNT Contracted Players' each year" even if they do not play for the national team. The federation cited forward Alex Morgan's pregnancy as one example of a player receiving a salary even when she cannot play. Morgan is receiving 75% of her salary while on maternity leave.

Men's team players do not receive a salary from US Soccer, and they are paid only when they are called up to play for the men's team, according to the filing.
The organization argues that the women may, in fact, be getting more compensation than the men because the women's collective bargaining agreement calls for US Soccer to play $350,000 annually to the player's union. According to the filing, money paid to unions is considered "pay" to an employee under the Equal Pay Act.
"Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument that male players 'have more responsibility' is just plain simple sexism and illustrates the very gender discrimination that caused us to file this lawsuit to begin with. So, looking forward to trial on May 5."

The American Outlaws, a supporter's group of fans of US Soccer, said the organization that administers soccer in the US should be pursuing more equality, not arguing that the women's game is inferior to the men's.
"The American Outlaws find that viewpoint objectionable and it is disappointing to see the federation make such an argument," the group posted on Twitter.'

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