By RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK – The American Football Federation said on Tuesday it offered identical contract proposals to player associations for the men’s and women’s national teams, and the governing body said it would decline to accept a deal in which the World Cup prize money is not equalized. .
The unions for men and women are separate. Under federal labor law, they have no obligation to jointly negotiate or agree to similar terms.
The men’s contract expired in December 2018. The women’s agreement runs until December.
“US Soccer firmly believes that the best way forward for everyone involved, and for the future of sport in the United States, is a single compensation structure for the two senior national teams,” USSF said in a statement. “This proposal will ensure that USWNT and USMNT players remain among the highest paid senior national team players in the world, while providing a revenue-sharing structure that would allow all parties to start from scratch and to collectively share the opportunity that combines investment in the future of American football will come true during a new CBA.
Men’s and women’s unions did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Molly Levinson, spokesperson for the players suing the federation, declined to comment.
After the USSF last week asked the men’s union to voluntarily equalize the World Cup bonus money paid to the federation by FIFA, the former players of the men’s national team declined to comment on or did not respond to requests for comment.
Items currently in the women’s contract, such as compensation for National Women’s Football League players and maternity and pregnancy leave and pay, would not necessarily be removed from the USSF’s proposals, the federation said.
Players led by Alex Morgan sued the USSF in March 2019, claiming they were not paid fairly under their collective agreement compared to what the men’s team receives under its expired deal. in December 2018. The women demanded more than $ 64 million in damages. plus $ 3 million in interest under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles rejected the salary request in May 2020, ruling that the women rejected a pay structure to play similar to the men’s deal and agreed to base salaries and social benefits greater than those of men. He allowed their allegation of discriminatory working conditions to be tried.
The women have called on the 9th Circuit to overturn the trial court’s decision and put their wage demands back on track. A panel of three judges will likely hear oral argument at the end of this year or early 2022.
FIFA awarded $ 400 million in cash prizes to the 32 teams in the 2018 Men’s World Cup, including $ 38 million for the French champion. It awarded $ 30 million to the 24 teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, including $ 4 million to the United States after the Americans won their second straight title.
FIFA raised the total to $ 440 million for the 2022 Men’s World Cup, and its president, Gianni Infantino, has offered FIFA to double the women’s prize to $ 60 million for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, in which FIFA increased the number of teams to 32.
“US Soccer will not accept any collective bargaining agreement that does not take the important step of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money,” the federation said. “US Soccer believes that the best way to achieve these important goals is for the associations of male and female players to come together to negotiate a single contract. However, if the player associations choose to continue to negotiate separately as they have done so far, US Soccer will invite USWNTPA to participate in negotiations with USNSTPA and vice versa, in the interest of transparency. total.
Tuesday’s announcement follows an open letter from USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone in which she said the men’s and women’s national teams must “come together and rethink the way we have done things in the past “and negotiate a solution that equalizes FIFA prices between the two teams.
Most federations frame their payments to players for World Cups on amounts from FIFA.
Under their employment contract, the American men were awarded $ 55,000 each for being part of the 2014 World Cup roster, then split $ 4.3 million for gaining four points in the stage. groups and reached the knockout stage. That calculated at just under $ 187,000 per player.
The American women shared $ 862,500 for making the list and $ 2.53 million for winning the 2019 World Cup, which works out to $ 147,500 per player. If they had performed on par with the men, the bonus for each under their contract would have been $ 37,500. The women also receive payments for a post-World Cup tour they share: $ 350,000 per game if they win, $ 300,000 if they finish second, and $ 250,000 if they finish third.
The offers also have different bonus structures to qualify.
ESPN reported that the men’s union and the USSF were close to reaching an agreement on a new collective agreement, a proposal that included increased bonuses for the period from 2019 to March 31, 2023, essentially wage arrears for this period, and designed to coincide with the USSF’s fiscal year. As of April 1, 2023, players would be paid over the next four years through some form of revenue sharing.
The proposal, first reported by The Athletic in June, failed to address the FIFA bonus issue and was reached after the men’s union threatened to strike ahead of an exhibition match against Costa Rica on same month.
But, according to the ESPN report, this offer, negotiated by USSF CEO Will Wilson, was rejected by the USSF board of directors. The USSF board responded with a counter-offer that was not acceptable to the men’s union, especially after believing that a deal had been made.