U.S. women's team sues soccer federation for gender discrimination
CGTN

The U.S. women's national soccer team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation on Friday with allegations of gender discrimination just three months before they open their World Cup title defense in France.

All 28 members of the U.S. squad were named as plaintiffs in federal court in Los Angeles on International Women's Day and the lawsuit includes complaints about wages and nearly every other aspect of their working conditions.

The players, a group that includes stars Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, said they have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts even though their performance has been superior to the men's team.

"Each of us is extremely proud to wear the United States jersey, and we also take seriously the responsibility that comes with that," U.S. co-captain Morgan said in a statement.

"We believe that fighting for gender equality in sports is a part of that responsibility. As players, we deserve to be paid equally for our work, regardless of our gender."

According to the lawsuit, filed three years after several players made a similar complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. soccer has "utterly failed to promote gender equality."

U.S. women's soccer team celebrate 5-2 win over Japan in the final of FIFA Women's World Cup in Vancouver, Canada, July 5, 2015. /VCG File Photo

U.S. women's soccer team celebrate 5-2 win over Japan in the final of FIFA Women's World Cup in Vancouver, Canada, July 5, 2015. /VCG File Photo

The U.S. Soccer Federation did not respond when asked to comment on the lawsuit.

The players said that U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro previously admitted the women's team should be valued as much as the men's squad but the federation "has paid only lip service to gender equality."

The lawsuit outlines years of institutionalized gender discrimination, claiming travel conditions, medical personnel, promotion of games and training are less favorable for female players compared to their male counterparts.

The U.S. women's team has enjoyed unparalleled success in international soccer, including three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals.

The men's team has never won either tournament and their best modern-day result at a World Cup was in 2002 when they reached the quarter-finals.

The U.S. Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) said in a statement it made progress during contract negotiations with U.S. Soccer in 2017 regarding compensation and working conditions but that more work needs to be done.

"This lawsuit is an effort by the plaintiffs to address those serious issues through the exercise of their individual rights," the union said in a statement, adding that it would continue to seek improvements through the labor-management and collective bargaining processes.

(Top image: Fans lining the streets for the women's soccer team, which won the champion at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, during a ticker tape parade held in New York, U.S, July 10, 2015. /VCG File Photo)

Source(s): Reuters