Will The US Female Soccer Lawsuit Affect The Rio Olympics? The Athletes Say Their Demands Weren't Met
On Wednesday, five members of the U.S. women's soccer team filed a wage discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The players — Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Becky Sauerbrunn — filed the complaint on behalf of the entire U.S. women's soccer team. The women claim that in 2015, even though their team generated $20 million more in revenue than the U.S. men's soccer team, the players on the men's team earned approximately four times more than themselves and their teammates.
The players' complaint comes less than two months after the U.S. Soccer Federation sued the women's team's union, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association, on Feb. 3. Fearful that the women's team would strike before or during the 2016 Rio Olympics because of wage discrimination, the U.S. Soccer Federation wanted to ensure that a collective bargaining agreement to keep the team from striking was still in effect. The union believes that this agreement has long since expired. Though The Boston Globe reported that the court will not hear arguments in the suit between the U.S. women's soccer union and the U.S. Soccer Federation until May 25, Wednesday's complaint again brings up the question: Will the U.S. women's soccer team strike before the Olympic Games in Rio?
According to The New York Times, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will not interfere in the lawsuit between the U.S. Soccer Federation and the women's soccer player's union over whether the U.S. women's team can legally strike before Rio. However, The New York Times reported that the new wage discrimination complaint could lead to even more problems for U.S. Soccer. Since the women's team has cited the men's team's salaries in Wednesday's complaint, the Federation could see a divide in the teams' fanbases. Without unity between the two U.S. teams, would the men's soccer team receive any attention?
Not only is wage discrimination absurd given that it's 2016 and women and men should be paid equally for the same work, but the U.S. women's soccer team is undeniably much better than the men's team, and makes more money for U.S. Soccer as well. According to The NY Daily News, in the upcoming year, the U.S. women's soccer team will net a $5 million profit for U.S. Soccer, while the men's team will cause a $1 million loss.
The U.S. women's soccer team has won three World Cup titles (they even won the first-ever Women's World Cup in 1991), and four Olympic gold medals. The men's team has never won the FIFA World Cup or Olympic gold. In fact, the U.S. men's soccer team did not even qualify for the 2016 Olympics! U.S. Soccer knows that their women's team has reason to strike, otherwise, they would not have sued the team's union in February. It's clearly time for the federation to start paying its most successful (and profitable) team fairly.