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US Soccer fires back in equal pay saga, says USWNT won't meet with them over FIFA prize money dispute

Yahoo! Sports logo Yahoo! Sports 8/03/2024 02:04:00 Caitlin Murray
a man wearing a suit and tie: President Carlos Cordeiro and U.S. Soccer are pushing back on the USWNT's claim they've been unwilling to pay the women equally. (Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! SportsPresident Carlos Cordeiro and U.S. Soccer are pushing back on the USWNT's claim they've been unwilling to pay the women equally. (Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

U.S. Soccer is hitting back against the narrative put forth by the U.S. women's national team that the federation has been unwilling to pay the women equally.

In a letter issued to U.S. Soccer's membership Saturday, president Carlos Cordeiro said the federation has offered the USWNT an identical payment structure to that of the U.S. men's national team. The USWNT rejected to even discuss it, he says, because they want the federation to make up FIFA's disparities in World Cup prize money.

As the USWNT laid out in legal filings last month, that shortfall, which includes FIFA prize money, amounts to $66 million worth of back pay.

"Last month, we offered the WNT Players Association multiple contract options, which we strongly believe address the team's goals as they have been presented to us by the players and their representatives," Cordeiro writes. "In particular, we have offered to provide identical compensation to our women's and men's players for all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer."

According to Cordeiro, U.S. Soccer has tried to meet with the players to discuss a resolution, but they have refused. A source says there were three separate attempts made to meet. Representatives from the USWNT have been contacted for comment.

The timing of Cordeiro's letter is not exactly ideal. 

The USWNT is currently on national team duty and in camp for the SheBelieves Cup, where they are preparing to face Spain on Sunday in New Jersey. Sources have indicated to Yahoo that while many players have compartmentalized the legal fight with U.S. Soccer, there has been palpable tension with others.

But it seemed inevitable that U.S. Soccer would punch back once legal proceedings forced the $66 million figure to become public, which the federation seems to think is an outrageous number.

Part of the federation's argument is that $66 million figure is based on what the women earned from winning back-to-back World Cups, but that difference is largely driven by FIFA, which offers the men $38 million for winning a World Cup but only $4 million for the women. There's no doubt the USWNT would've earned a lot more money if the players were men, but that's in large part due to FIFA.

The women will be able to point out, however, that some of the bonuses the U.S. men can earn during a World Cup are not directly tied to prize money, such as bonuses for every point earned during the group stage. If the USWNT would've won back-to-back World Cups under the USMNT's contract, they would've earned a lot money, whether it came from FIFA or not.

Cordeiro argues that U.S. Soccer cannot afford to make up for FIFA's disparity in prize money.

"It is not reasonable or fiscally sound for U.S. Soccer to make up the gap," he writes. "It would seriously impair our ability to support our mission and invest in these other critical developmental areas."

Caitlin Murray is a contributor to Yahoo Sports and her book about the U.S. women's national team, The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women Who Changed Soccer, is out now. Follow her on Twitter @caitlinmurr.

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vendredi 8 mars 2024 04:04:00

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