USWNT-USSF Mediation Talks Break Down; Case Looks To Be Heading Back To Court

The USWNT’s search for equal pay and equality looks to be heading back to the courts.

The U.S. women’s national team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination earlier this year. The two sides decided to meet for mediation to come to an agreement before going to court.

Those talks appear to have broken down on Wednesday.

“We entered this week’s mediation with representatives of USSF full of hope,” Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players, said in a statement. “Today we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the federation’s determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behavior. It is clear that USSF, including its board of directors and President Carlos Cordeiro, fully intend to continue to compensate women players less than men. They will not succeed.

“We are undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial.”

Mediation talks reportedly included senior USWNT players, U.S. Soccer officials and lawyers for both sides. 

U.S. Soccer had hired lobbyists to help defend its position on how it treats the World Cup-champion USWNT, though that didn’t exactly go over well

With no further mediation dates set, it appears the suit will return to federal court, though U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told the New York Times the federation is still working to find a resolution. 

Equal pay in women’s soccer is, as we’ve mentioned countless times, a tricky issue. While U.S. Soccer has supported the USWNT better than most federations around the globe, it has refused to acknowledge the pay gap (among other things) between the men’s and women’s team, though much of the blame should also fall on FIFA for the non-profit’s unequal reward money.

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