By Leah Asmelash and Brian Ries, CNN [July 8,2019]
As chants of “equal pay” erupted during the US Women’s National Team’s World Cup win, one thing was clear: Despite their trophy, their fight isn’t over yet.
In March, 28 USWNT players sued the US Soccer Federation, claiming that it is discriminating against the women’s team by paying them less than members of the men’s team.
“Despite the fact that these female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their single common employer, the USSF, the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts,” the lawsuit reads. “This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players — with the female players, in contrast to male players, becoming world champions.”
The money is a significant piece of the lawsuit, but it’s not the only thing the women are demanding. The lawsuit also claims that the federation has denied them equal playing, training and travel conditions, as well as equal promotion, support and development for their games.
Many have protested the demands, claiming that the men’s sport is more difficult and more competitive because not as many countries have invested heavily in their women’s teams. And so comparing the two, they say, is like comparing apples and oranges.
But, as the USWNT mentions in the lawsuit, the conditions they play in can also be much worse.
Star Megan Rapinoe tore a ligament in her right knee during training in Hawaii in 2015, while the team was on a victory tour after winning the Women’s World Cup. Her injury came while playing on turf, artificial grass that is cheaper to maintain than real grass surfaces. Turf can lead to abrupt stops because of the way it makes contact with the studs on soccer cleats.
All the games in the 2015 Women’s World Cup were on turf, despite a lawsuit brought by the players. The men’s tournament, meanwhile, has always been held on real grass.
Here’s a by-the-numbers comparison of the two teams.
USWNT vs. USMNT, in numbers
4: The number of World Cup wins the women’s team has, in only eight tournaments.
0: The number of World Cup wins the men’s team has won. The last time the men’s team placed was in 1930, when they finished third.
4: The number of Olympic gold medals in women’s soccer that the team has won, in six tournaments.
0: The number of Olympic golds the men’s team has won. The men’s team hasn’t won an Olympic medal in more than a century.
$900,000: How much more revenue the women’s team generated than the men’s team from fiscal year 2016 to 2018, according to the Washington Post.
$3,662,480: The amount spent on development for women’s teams (under-14 teams to under-23 teams) in fiscal year 2016, according to the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget.
$7,438,159: The amount spent on development for men’s teams in fiscal year 2016.
$11,400,000: The total projected revenue of the women’s events (such as friendlies and tournament play) in fiscal year 2018. After expenses, the team made the US Soccer Federation money, with a surplus of just over $2 million, according to the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget.
$10,325,000: The total projected revenue of the men’s events in fiscal year 2018. After expenses, the team had a deficit of just over $3.5 million.
$240,019: Carli Lloyd’s salary in 2015, after winning the World Cup, according FiveThirtyEight.
$428,022: Clint Dempsey’s salary in 2014, after losing in the round of 16 in the World Cup, according to FiveThirtyEight.
$4,950: The maximum amount per game the women’s team would earn if they played 20 friendlies and won them all, according to the lawsuit, for a maximum total of $99,000.
$13,166: The average amount per game the men’s team would earn if they played 20 friendlies and won them all, according to the lawsuit, for a total of $263,320.
These numbers represent an agreement the USWNT had with the US Soccer Federation that ended in December 2016. The Washington Post reported that, under the latest agreement, the women’s team would still earn about $28,333 less than the men’s team in the same scenario. If both teams lost all 20 games, the two teams would make the same amount.