Judge grants USWNT unequal working conditions settlement

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A federal judge approved a partial deal between players on the United States women's national team and the U.S. Soccer Federation over unequal working conditions.

The settlement paves the way for the players to appeal their equal pay claims.

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R. Gary Klausner, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California, notified both parties of his approval of the settlement, which centered on working conditions claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

These working conditions included use of charter flights for travel, venue selection, the number of support staff and hotel accommodations.

"We are pleased that the Court has approved the equal working conditions that the USWNT Players have fought for many years to achieve," players' spokesperson Molly Levinson said in a statement.

"Finally, giving these athletes access to facilities, training, care, and professional support is the next step needed in the long and hard work to grow the game of women's football."

Levinson said the players will now appeal the equal pay aspect of their lawsuit, in which Judge Klausner had previously ruled in favor of the USSF.

"Now that this is behind us, we intend to appeal the Court's equal pay decision, which does not account for the fact that women players have been paid at lesser rates than men who do the same job," the statement said.

"We are committed as ever to our work to achieve the equal pay that we legally deserve and our focus is on the future and ensuring we leave the game a better place for the next generation of women who will play for this team and our country."

In a statement following the decision, the USSF said it expected the USWNT to proceed with the appeal but that it is hopeful for an out of court resolution.

"U.S. Soccer is 100% committed to equal pay. We have offered the USWNT the identical compensation provided to our men's players for all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer.

"Unfortunately, the USWNT has not accepted our offer or our long-standing invitation to meet to try to find a resolution unless U.S. Soccer first agrees to make up the difference between the Men's and Women's World Cup prize money, which is determined, controlled and paid for by FIFA.

"Our request to meet still stands, and we hope the USWNT will accept our invitation very soon. We look forward to working together to chart a positive path to grow the game both here at home and around the world."

Levinson responded to the USSF's statement, calling it "misleading."

"It is so disappointing and disheartening to see yet another misleading statement without a meaningful effort from USSF on equal pay," Levinson said. "USSF has not offered to meet with the players to resolve equal pay. In truth, USSF's last settlement offer, which was over a year ago, offered far less than equal pay to the players.

"If USSF was '100% committed to equal pay,' then USSF would have offered the players equal pay and equal working conditions, and the players would not have been forced to file a lawsuit in order to try to achieve equality."