The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team (WST) is #1 in the world. Its members have won World Cups and Olympic medals. Their tournaments and exhibitions bring in more revenue than the Men’s Team (MT).
The WST plays under less favorable conditions than the MT. The WST travel, lodging and practice conditions are second rate compared to the MT. WST members are paid less than the MT.
Why the disparity? That is a question raised in a lawsuit by the WST against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF), the agency that controls both the WST and the MT. Historically, the WST generated less revenue than the MT, and that was cited as the reason for the discrimination. That excuse no longer applies.
In a court filing, the USSF made astonishing new claims to justify its discrimination.
1. Women on the WST “do not perform equal work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility.” Men simply have greater “ability” to play soccer than women.
2. The MT faces “tougher competition.” The WST is the best in the world. The MT is not. The MT has to play harder to win against “tougher competition.”
3. The teams do not have “equal responsibility.” The WST repeatedly qualifies for, plays for and wins world championships. The MT has to compete in “multiple soccer tournaments” to qualify.
4. The “working conditions” are different. The MT plays to “hostile” crowds and gets booed. Crowds for women’s soccer games are more gentile.
5. Worldwide, more fans watch men’s soccer. The MT has the “potential” to generate more revenue than the WST. The MT’s “potential” justifies the current discrimination against the WST.
The USSF is accused of “institutionalized gender discrimination.” The USSF’s court filing seems to prove the point. The case is scheduled for trial in May.