US Soccer has defended itself in the equal pay lawsuit filed by the US Women’s National Team (USWNT), stating that the World Cup champion’s male counterparts have “more responsibility” and their job “requires a higher level of skill.”
Watch below: Fans chant 'equal pay' following US Women's soccer World Cup win
The filing was part of US Soccer’s attempt to prove that it had not discriminated against the women’s team based on their gender. The organisation argued that it had not violated the terms of the Equal Pay Act (EPA) by paying the women’s team less, writing “the job of MNT player carries more responsibility within U.S. Soccer than the job of WNT player, from an EPA standpoint.”
Further, the documents filed by US Soccer referred to biological differences and “indisputable science” to argue that the women’s team should be paid less as playing in the male league “requires a higher level of skill.”
Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the USWNT has suggested the organisations ‘argument’ “belongs in the Paleolithic Era,” and “sounds as if it has been made by a caveman.”
"Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument that male players 'have more responsibility' is just plain simple sexism and illustrates the very gender discrimination that caused us to file this lawsuit to begin with," Levinson added.
"So looking forward to trial on May 5.”
During the court proceedings, attorneys for US Soccer grilled women’s national team stars Carli Llyod and Alex Morgan over their ability to ‘be competitive’ against their male counterparts.
According to documents filed last month, midfielder Carli Llyod responded, “I’m not sure. Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?”
“Do you think it requires more skill to play for the U.S. Men’s National Team than the US Women’s National Team?” another U.S. Soccer attorney asked striker Alex Morgan, to which she responded, “No, it’s a different skill.”
US Soccer also included the threat of openly hostile fans at men’s games as evidence of a more demanding job than woman – who they argue do not attract as many visiting fans from their opponents’ team.
With a jury trial looming in May, the US women are asking for $67 million in back pay for what they claim is US Soccer’s violation of the Equal Pay Act. When midfielder Megan Rapinoe was interviewed earlier this week, she said the team would need “an actual offer for equal pay, and some considerable damages as well.”