A judge ruled that the United States National Women’s Football Team did not have sufficient evidence to bring their claim for unequal remuneration to justice, which would be a major blow to the trial of the four world champions.
In a US order made on Friday, US District Court judge R. Gary Klausner allowed the motion of the American Football Federation for a summary judgment to dismiss the key element of the players’ trial, leaving it fair their allegation of discrimination based on travel conditions and medical and training support. viable for trial.
“In short, [US Soccer] presented evidence in support of his Motion for Summary Judgment that [women’s national team] was paid more on a cumulative and average basis per game than the [men’s national team] during the class period, “read the order.
Regarding the evidence presented by the women’s team, including the fact that they receive lower bonuses for friendly matches and that they would have earned more under the national men’s team collective agreement than what ‘They were only doing it under their own contract, Klausner said the evidence was’ insufficient’. to create a real question of factual material for the trial. “
Molly Levinson, spokesperson for the players, said they planned to appeal the judge’s decision.
“We are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay,” Levinson said on Twitter. “We are confident in our case and firm in our commitment to ensure that girls and women are not evaluated as less just because of their gender. “
US Soccer did not immediately respond to requests for comment from BuzzFeed News.
The move comes weeks after the federation was criticized for arguing in legal documents that female athletes were less qualified and held less demanding jobs than their male counterparts.
The comments sparked a protest by the players, who wore their warm-up shirts inside out, hiding the American football crest before a game against Japan, as well as reprisals from major sponsors like Coke, Budweiser and Visa. A few hours after the demonstration, the American football president, Carlos Cordeiro, resigned.
The court also allowed US Soccer’s motion to dismiss the allegation of discrimination based on a disparity between the playing surfaces on which men and women play, but found that the players had sufficient evidence to support their claim according to which the federation had subjected women to lower displacements. conditions.
In March 2019, 28 members of the 2015 women’s team sued the federation for sex discrimination. In the complaint, the players accused their governing body of having reduced their wages and working conditions compared to the national men’s team, which did not play as well, did not qualify for the Cup. 2018 world and has nowhere near audience records and audiences attracted their female counterparts.
The team’s fight for equal pay galvanized fans and the public as they embarked on the journey to a fourth record World Cup victory last summer. Shortly after the final whistle, the crowd in Lyon, France, burst into songs of “equal pay!” “
Given the decision made on Friday, Becky Sauerbrunn, defender of the national team, tweeted, “If you know this team, you know that we still have a lot of fight in us. “
“We knew it was not going to be easy, change never is,” said Sauerbrunn.