US women soccer players 'have no right to strike' over equal pay, court rules

US Women's soccer team after winning last year's World Cup.

The United States women's soccer team does not have the right to strike for better conditions and wages this year, a US district court judge ruled on June 3, Reuters reported that day.

The ruling comes after the US Women's National Soccer Team Players Association sued the US Soccer Federation in February over unequal pay facing women soccer players versus their male counterparts.

Women soccer players say they earn as little as 40% of what men's team players make, despite achieving greater success onfield — winning last year's Women's World Cup — and achieving higher TV ratings than their male counterparts.

Reuters said: "Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled that the players were bound by a no-strike provision in their contract with US Soccer. The decision comes only two months before the US women are due to defend their Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro.

"The ruling was a victory for U.S. Soccer, which had argued that though the team's collective bargaining agreement had expired in 2012, it lived on in a memorandum of understanding signed in 2013.

"Friday's decision means the players cannot strike for better pay before the Rio Games, but it has no effect on a separate federal wage discrimination complaint filed by five top players, including star scorer Carli Lloyd and goalkeeper Hope Solo, earlier this year.

"In March, the five players had filed a complaint in which they claimed they were paid less than male players even though they generate more income for the United States Soccer Federation ...

"The complaint alleged disparities at every level of the sport, from lower compensation for friendly matches and sponsor appearances to smaller travel allowances.

"For example, the women earned $2 million for winning the 2015 World Cup while the men earned $9 million after being eliminated from the world's top tournament in 2014, the complaint said.

"Both national teams are required to play 20 friendly games a year and earn more if they win. But a male player who loses all the games would make $100,000 while a woman would make $99,000 for winning all, the complaint said."

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