(Reuters) - The female players who sued the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for equal pay reported that talks broke down on Wednesday and said they were now turning their attention to the courts where they are “eagerly look forward to a jury trial”.
Some 28 players took USSF to court in March alleging they were consistently paid less than their male counterparts even though their performance has been superior to the men’s team.
The lawsuit outlined years of institutionalized gender discrimination, claiming travel conditions, medical personnel, promotion of games and training are less favorable for female players, who have won the World Cup four times, than for their male counterparts.
The two sides had hoped to resolve the issue in mediation but the women, fresh from defending their World Cup title in France, said hopes of a settlement had been dashed.
“Today we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the Federation’s determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behavior,” players’ spokesperson Molly Levinson said in a statement.
“It is clear that USSF, including its Board of Directors and President Carlos Cordeiro, fully intend to continue to compensate women players less than men.
“They will not succeed. We want all of our fans, sponsors, peers around the world, and women everywhere to know we are undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial.”
A spokesperson for USSF said they were disappointed mediation had broken down.
“We have said numerous times that our goal is to find a resolution,” spokesman Neil Buethe said in a statement to Yahoo Sports.
“During mediation we had hoped we would be able to address the issues in a respectful manner and reach an agreement.
“Unfortunately, instead of allowing mediation to proceed in a considerate manner, plaintiffs’ counsel took an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach that follows months of presenting misleading information to the public in an effort to perpetuate confusion.”
Reporting by Andrew Downie and Jahmal Corner; Editing by Greg Stutchbury