Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, and Hope Solo File a Federal Complaint Against U.S. Soccer for Unfair Pay

March 31, 2016, 2:18 PM UTC

The U.S. women’s national soccer team might be the best in the world, but you wouldn’t know it from the players’ paychecks.

On Wednesday, five of the team’s top team members filed a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging U.S. Soccer, the governing body for the sport, with wage discrimination, reports the New York Times. The players involved are co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Megan Rapinoe, and goalkeeper Hope Solo.

“We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships,” Solo said in a statement about the filing, which argues that the women’s team is paid almost four times less than the men’s team. The statement also points out that the team brought in $20 million in revenue in 2015, according to the organization’s annual financial report.

The USNWT is the current reigning Women’s World Cup and Olympic champion, and is favored to win yet another gold at the Rio Olympic games this summer. Soccer’s wage gap first gained attention when it was revealed that the team earned $2 million in prize money after winning the Women’s World Cup. Meanwhile, the men’s team, which lost in an earlier round at the Men’s World Cup that year, earned $9 million. The winning men’s team, Germany, earned $35 million.

The pay gap for individual players is equally stark. Now-retired soccer legend Abby Wambach had an annual salary of around $200,000 while on the women’s national team. Meanwhile, Brazilian soccer star Christiano Ronaldo made more than $48 million in 2014 and Argentina’s Lionel Messi makes more than $50 million—not including endorsements.

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“We believe now the time is right because we believe it’s a responsibility for women’s sports, specifically women’s soccer, to really do whatever it takes for equal pay and equal rights and to be treated with respect,” Solo said on NBC’s Today Show.

U.S. Soccer responded to the filing with the following statement: “We understand the Women’s National Team Players Association is filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against U.S. Soccer. While we have not seen this complaint and can’t comment on the specifics of it, we are disappointed about this action. We have been a world leader in women’s soccer and are proud of the commitment we have made to building the women’s game in the United States over the past 30 years.”

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