By: Peter Martinez | CBS News
August 14, 2019
Mediation talks between the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team have broken down after their first day of discussions, according to a representative from the women's team.
"Today we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the the Federation's determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behavior," according to the team's statement. "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."
The women's team won its fourth World Cup championship in July in France, and gained national headlines for equal pay because they were earning less than a quarter of what the U.S. men's team would have been paid for the same feat.
The representative for the women's team added, "We want all of our fans, sponsors, peers around the world and women everywhere to know we are undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial."
Immediately after the women's team beat the Netherlands on July 7, fans started calling for another victory: Giving the women equal pay. The World Cup prompted a lawsuit against the USSF for gender discrimination, with a focus on the pay gap between the men's and women's teams.
When FIFA President Gianni Infantino took the stage after the women's team's victory, the crowd in France's Stade de Lyon broke into a chant: "Equal pay! Equal pay!"
USSF has said the women are paid less because their games typically bring in less revenue and lower ratings. But according to the federation's own financial reports, the women's team generated more total revenue than the men's in the three years after the women's 2015 World Cup victory.
Team members Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe told "CBS This Morning" in March that U.S. Soccer was in a position to take "an incredibly bold stance" on equal pay.
"I think we've learned a lot through this process," Rapinoe said. We've really come together as a group and been able to solidify our unity and our strength and really begun to understand the power of everyone being on the same page."
The players have kept up the pressure since returning home for a ticker-tape parade celebrating their victory.
"Everybody's ready for it. Everybody wants it," Rapinoe told reporters in New York City. "Everybody is ready for the conversation to be moved to the next piece."
Already, a Senate bill introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, would block federal funds for the 2026 World Cup, for which the U.S. will be a co-host, until USSF gives equal pay to its women's and men's teams. The bill would deny federal money for any aspect of the 2026 World Cup — including support for a host city and for U.S. Soccer — "until the date on which the United States Soccer Federation agrees to provide equitable pay" for the women's and men's players.
There's no question that the women — the country's momentary pride and joy — are underpaid: Each member of the U.S. women's national team is expected to earn about $250,000 for their World Cup victory, including public appearances. By comparison, had the American men's team won a World Cup, they would have earned about $1 million each, given current pay structures, according to Darren Rovell of The Action Network, a sports betting site.
The 2026 World Cup will be hosted in 16 cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico — the first time the soccer tournament will be held in three countries. The host cities have not yet been determined.