The United States Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) on Wednesday labeled the U.S. Soccer Federation's offer of identical contract proposals for both the men's and women's teams as nothing more than a publicity stunt.
The U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) announced its offer on Tuesday as part of an effort it said was to align the women's and men's national teams under one collective bargaining agreement.
"USSF's PR stunts and bargaining through the media will not bring us any closer to a fair agreement," the USWNTPA said on Twitter.
"In contrast, we are committed to bargaining in good faith to achieve equal pay and the safest working conditions possible. The proposal that USSF made recently to us does neither."
The USSF tweeted a response to the USWNTPA's claims.
"An offer on paper of identical contracts to the USWNT and USMNT, and to discuss equalizing prize money, is real, authentic and in good faith. A publicity stunt is a 90-minute one-sided movie," it said.
An offer on paper of identical contracts to the USWNT and USMNT, and to discuss equalizing prize money, is real, authentic and in good faith. A publicity stunt is a 90-minute one-sided movie. https://t.co/iCdiiCRYFN— U.S. Soccer Comms (@ussoccer_comms) September 15, 2021
Speaking on Wednesday, USWNT forward Alex Morgan said the players were cautiously optimistic.
"We still need to chat about the statement given by US Soccer. But any commitment to equal pay publicly is good," Morgan said.
"However, we need to look line by line at what they're actually providing, because if you have equal but it's not even what we got before, or to the value that we are, then we still consider that to be not good enough."
The USWNT sued U.S. soccer's governing body in 2019 over allegations of gender discrimination in compensation and nearly every other aspect of its playing conditions.
Months later, the team won a fourth World Cup as fans during the final chanted, "Equal pay."
The lawsuit, which sought $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act, was dismissed, but the USWNT has since appealed.
The USWNT's current labor agreement expires at the end of 2021, while the men's team has been operating under the terms of a deal that expired in 2018.
In announcing its offer on Tuesday, U.S. Soccer also said it would not agree to a labor agreement that does take the step of equalizing World Cup prize money and invited the teams and their unions to join the federation to help find a solution.
FIFA offered prize money of $30 million to the teams in the 2019 Women's World Cup, while the men took home $400 million in 2018.