The USA Women's National Team have had their equal pay claim dismissed by a federal judge, but other allegations of discrimination can proceed to trial.
The USWNT's latest battle to be paid the same as their male counterparts has been ongoing since March 2019.
The women's team had been seeking $66m in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
On Friday U.S. District Judge R Gary Klausner threw out the Equal Pay Act allegations in a 32-page document detailing the decision.
The document read: “The history of negotiations between the parties demonstrates that the WNT rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the MNT, and the WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players.
“Accordingly, plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their CBA (collective bargaining agreement) worse than the MNT CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT’s pay-to-play terms structure when they themselves rejected such a structure."
The main pay disparity between the men's and women's national sides stems from the win bonuses.
The Guardian reported in June that the US women's players could earn up to $261,000 each for winning the 2019 World Cup (which they did, for the fourth time), while the male side could earn up to $1.1m each had they won the 2018 World Cup (which they didn't, they failed to qualify.)
Although the equal pay fight will not go to court, the Civil Rights Act claims of discriminatory working conditions will. A trial is scheduled for 16 June.
Klausner dismissed the argument that the US men's team had a competitive need for chartered flights that the women did not, in order to arrive more rested for their qualifiers.
“This rationale does not fully explain the gross disparity on money spent on airfare and hotels for the teams,” Klausner wrote
Ballon d'Or winner Megan Rapinoe took to social media to react to the news, writing on Twitter: "We will never stop fighting for EQUALITY."
Two-time World Cup winner Becky Sauerbrunn wrote: "If you know this team at all you know we have a lot of fight left in us. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy, change never is."