Sports | June 25, 2021 1:47 pm

A New Documentary Has Rekindled the Debate Over Equal Pay for the USWNT

The US Soccer Federation claimed on Twitter that "LFG" is a "misleading and inaccurate account of the facts"

Crystal Dunn of the USWNT talks to Megan Rapinoe before a game between Nigeria and USWNT at Q2 Stadium on June 16, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

This week brings with it the release of a new documentary, LFG, to HBO Max. Filmmakers Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine have made films on a host of subjects to date, including child soldiers and living with progeria. Writing about their new film, Lovia Gyarkye at The Hollywood Reporter called it “absorbing and lucid.” LFG, Gyarkye wrote, “intimately chronicles the years-long gender discrimination lawsuit the U.S. women’s soccer team pursued against their employer.”

LFG has reopened a larger debate between the US Soccer Federation and the US Women’s National Team. Late last year, the two parties reached a settlement — though, as NBC News reported at the time, it only addressed some of the areas covered by the lawsuit, namely “team travel, accommodations and professional support.”

ESPN reports that US Soccer took to Twitter on Thursday to address what they feel is incorrect information in the documentary. The federation argued that a statement made by Jeffrey Kessler in the film was “a misleading and inaccurate account of the facts.” It also criticized what it referred to as “a concerning level of dishonesty about U.S. Soccer and the USWNT’s compensation” depicted in the film.

In a statement, Kessler pushed back against the federation’s claims. “The USSF, regrettably, continues to try to rewrite the past, making up a narrative that it has offered an equal rate of pay to the world champion women players, but it has not,” he said.

The USSF maintains that the much-criticized differences in pay between the USWNT and USMNT are a result of negotiations with different unions, and also represent “different compensation models.” As for LFG, The Hollywood Reporter‘s review notes that the documentary explores both the USWNT’s case and how it fits in with larger instances of inequality in the world of sports. It’s the latest salvo in an ongoing debate, and it’s one that likely won’t be resolved any time soon.