Every member of the United States women’s national team has joined a class action lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation over equal pay and working conditions just three months before they will defend their World Cup title in France.
The World Cup is the crown jewel of a spectacular summer of football in 2019.
All 28 players, including the likes of Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, have put their names to a lawsuit which was filed on International Women’s Day in the US District Court in Los Angeles.
The players are unhappy that they are paid less than their male counterparts, despite delivering considerably more success.
The US are three-time winners of the Women’s World Cup, lifting the trophy in 1991, 1999 and 2015.
The men’s team last reached the quarter-finals of a World Cup in 2002 and failed to qualify for the 2018 edition, with their best finish third place in 1930.
The lawsuit said: “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.
“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.”
According to the figures presented in the lawsuit, if both the men’s and the women’s team played 20 games in a single season and won all 20, female players would earn a maximum of USD 99,000 (£76,000) while their male counterparts would collect an average of USD 263,320 (£202,270).
The USSF did not immediately respond to a request from Press Association Sport for comment.
This year’s Women’s World Cup will start in France on June 7, with the United States due to face Thailand in their opening match on June 11.
The players’ union, the United States National Soccer Team Players Association, said it “fully supports” the legal action.
“We are committed to the concept of a revenue-sharing model to address the US Soccer Federation’s ‘market realities’ and find a way towards fair compensation,” a statement said.
“An equal division of revenue attributable to the [Men’s National Team] and [Women’s National Team] programs is our primary pursuit as we engage with the US Soccer Federation in collective bargaining.
“Our collective bargaining agreement expired at the end of 2018 and we have already raised an equal division of attributable revenue.
“We wait on US Soccer to respond to both players associations with a way to move forward with fair and equal compensation for all US soccer players.”