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The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team is suing the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. The suit alleges several types of discrimination, but my question specifically pertains to the issue of equal pay. The men's World Cup is a significantly larger event and generates much more revenue for FIFA. Does the suit have any merit, and under what legal grounds can a case like this be pursued? The U.S. Soccer Federation initially refused to comply with the suit, but the case has now gone to mediation.

  • Although the men's tournament makes many times more money for FIFA, the U.S. women's team generates about as much as the U.S. men's team for US Soccer. The U.S. men's team was not even in the most recent World Cup. – Damila Jul 9 '19 at 19:41
  • Yes, I mentioned this in the comments below. – user27343 Jul 10 '19 at 4:31
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The suit has prima facie merit

the relevant provision of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 is:

SEC. 206. [Section 6]

(d) Prohibition of sex discrimination

(1) No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex

The players in a male or female soccer team are probably working "on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions".

The employer can argue that one of the exemptions applies although its not obvious that they do.

The fact that the men's sport brings in greater revenue to the woman's sport is not relevant to the rate of pay of the workers.

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    That's somewhat circular logic. You're there assuming that the women's world cup is also the highest level. But all the opponents there are also women. Hence, if you start out with the (tested) assumption that the women play at about U19 level, then the women's cup is not the highest possible level. And AFAIK the "regular" FIFA world cup does not actually exclude women. – MSalters Jul 9 '19 at 12:10
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    "Equal effort and skill" is not th4e same as 'equal performance". If the difference is because of, say, lesser upper-body strength, then equal effort and skill might not result in equal performance. I don't know on what basis adult women's play is begin equated to under-19 men's play. – David Siegel Jul 9 '19 at 14:28
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    "The fact that the men's sport brings in greater revenue to the woman's sport is not relevant to the rate of pay of the workers." How is it not relevant? These are business that generate revenue. Neymar makes significantly more than a substitute in part because he also generates significantly more income for his club. – user27343 Jul 9 '19 at 17:45
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    So if Spain establishes a women's league, Barcelona should pay the women as much as the men? As much as Messi? Businesses pay their workers based on their productivity and contribution to the business. They are not required to always pay them equally. In the case of USWNT, they do generate the same revenue as the men so they fit "(iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production." That would not be the case for a Barcelonian women's team. – user27343 Jul 10 '19 at 4:27
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    What is a football player’s job? Kicking a ball into a goal? In that case we could really increase performance by letting one team play for 90 minutes, then let the other team play for 90 minutes. No, their job is to make people pay for football tickets. – gnasher729 Jul 10 '19 at 11:00

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