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Joe Biden‘s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States will open a new era in the Oval Room’s relationship with the sports industry of the world’s greatest athletic powerhouse. At least, initially, it will try to reduce the distance that the Trump administration opened, through discussions, with a wide sector of the sector as a result of marked ideological differences. The Trump White House always considered the political demonstrations of athletes to be out of place and never hesitated to reprimand them. The dynamic looks different, less tumultuous, and more conciliatory, under the leadership of Joe Biden, who has publicly embraced the social and political causes of various leagues and teams, including the United States Women’s Soccer Team (USWNT). .
USWNT remains in litigation against US Soccer, the American soccer federation, for gender pay disparity The center of the allegation, which dates back to 2018, is that USWNT, the top World Cup winner in its category (they are two-time champions, in fact), receives lower economic bonuses for their participation compared to their male counterparts, who have never raised a bigger trophy. 28 USWNT players, led by Megan Rapinoe, filed a lawsuit for 66 million dollars in compensation against US Soccer in March 2019, in accordance with the ‘Equal Pay Act’, enacted in 1963 by John F. Kennedy. The complaint was dismissed by Federal Judge Gary Klausner in May 2020.
After Judge Klausner’s ruling, Biden, then a Democratic candidate for the US presidency, voiced his support for USWNT. “Don’t give up on this battle. This is not over yet.”, wrote the now president in his personal Twitter account followed by a kind of ultimatum to US Soccer, applicable in case he occupies the Oval Room: “Equal pay, now; otherwise, when I am president, go elsewhere to seek funding for the World Cups.” It is not clear if Biden referred to financial support for the US teams qualified for FIFA events, or to the distribution of public resources to organize the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico. However, the threat has returned to the scene after the assumption of the former vice president to the first office of the American Union.
Klausner did accept the demands for “Discriminatory working conditions”: the players reported inferior treatment in travel logistics, accommodation and medical treatment compared to their colleagues in the men’s team. The court case proceeded to federal court until on December 1, 2020, US Soccer and USWNT reached an agreement to resolve the lawsuit. The Federation agreed to comply with the requests of those selected. USWNT spokeswoman Molly Levinson said the understanding did not spell the end of the legal battle for equal pay. “This does not change the central fact that women have received lower payments than men for doing the same work,” he said.
What will happen to US Soccer?
Cindy Parlow Cone, former soccer player and current president of US Soccer, welcomed the agreement reached between both parties. “I am committed to achieving equality between USWNT and USMNT,” she endorsed in a press release. However, later he clarified in a video-conference with journalists that meeting the central requirement of the players (recovering and distributing 66 million dollars from the prize that FIFA awarded to US Soccer for winning the 2019 World Cup), would lead the federation to bankruptcy. “It would be devastating for our budget and our programs,” he feared.
Will President Biden intervene in the looming conflict? Jeremi Duru, professor of the American University Washington School of Law, does not doubt about it: “(Biden) can take advantage of that activism and activate it in a way that helps us get our country out of this position in which we currently find ourselves,” he explained, quoted by Sky News. The tweet from May 2020 could be a declaration of intent.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.