Lawyers for the football governing body in the US submitted the claims in legal papers as part of a lawsuit over equal pay filed by 28 women’s national team players .

The job of a male footballer on the national team “requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength” than their female counterparts. The men’s national team has never won a relevant international title, the women’s side are four-time world champions and have won five Olympic gold medals.

The women’s team generated more money from ticket sales than the men’s side between 2016 and 2018. The male athletes serving the national team are still paid more, according to lawyers representing the female players.

Women can earn a maximum $4,950 (£3,858) bonus per friendly game played for the national team, while the men’s pay topped $13,000 (£10,132).

“Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument male players ‘have more responsibility’ is just plain simple sexism, It also illustrates the very gender discrimination that caused us to file this lawsuit to begin with,” Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the players said.

“We won’t accept anything less than equal pay,” she said in an interview with ABC TV channel last August. We show up for a game, if we win the game, if we lose the game, if we tie the game, we want to be paid equally, period,” Megan Rapinoe.

On 12 February the US men’s team issued a statement criticizing the governing body in no uncertain terms.

The last men’s World Cup champions France received $38m (£29.6m) after winning the tournament in Russia, in 2018.

The US women’s team however, went home with $4m (£3.1m) for winning the trophy last year.

Read more on Women in Football.

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