U.S. Soccer has hired two lobbying firms to counter claims that its women’s team is paid less than half what their male counterparts earn. The women’s team, which became world champions for the fourth time last month, has sued U.S. Soccer for paying female players as little as 38 percent of what male players are paid. The national soccer federation has disputed the claim, and is now putting money behind it. “Due to the large number of requests we’ve received from policymakers since the Women’s World Cup, we are taking the proper steps to make sure that those leaders have accurate information and factual numbers that will inform them about the unmatched support and investment the U.S. Soccer Federation has provided as a leader in women’s football across the world,” Neil Buethe, a U.S. Soccer spokesman, told Politico.
The two lobbying firms have reportedly been circulating slides, obtained by Politico, that highlight the benefits of the women’s contract. According to the lobbyist’s presentation, the women’s team was paid far more than the men’s team last year and the women receive benefits that the men’s team does not, including maternity leave. However, comparing the teams is difficult due to the fact that the women played nine more games than the men did last year, and the women won 90 percent of those matches—compared to the men’s 27 percent success rate. The women’s team said in a statement that they were “stunned and disappointed” that U.S. Soccer “would spend sponsor dollars and revenue to advocate against laws that ensure that women are paid equally to men.”