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US soccer president says women's team paid more than men over past 10 years


U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said the federation paid the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) more than its male counterpart over the past 10 years, disputing the world champion team’s claims of gender pay disparity.

USWNT spokesperson Molly Levinson vehemently denied Cordeiro's claims, calling the fact sheet he shared "a ruse."

In an open letter published Monday, Cordeiro said he asked staff to conduct an analysis of the past 10 years of the federation's financial records. According to the fact sheet the federation published, officials claim the women’s team was paid $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses from 2010 to 2018, and the men were paid $25.4 million.

In a written statement shared with news outlets, Levinson called the federation’s claims “utterly false.”

"This is a sad attempt by USSF to quell the overwhelming tide of support the USWNT has received from everyone from fans to sponsors to the United States Congress," Molly Levinson said in a statement shared with CNN. "The USSF has repeatedly admitted that it does not pay the women equally and that it does not believe the women even deserve to be paid equally. This is why they use words like 'fair and equitable,' not equal in describing pay.”

Cordeiro said the federation made a “deliberate decision” when a lawsuit alleging pay disparity was filed by the women's team to hold off on “debating the facts in the media in the lead up to the World Cup.”

Earlier this month, USWNT won the Women’s World Cup for the fourth time, breaking the team’s own record.

In the fact sheet the federation said there is a different pay structure for the men and women national teams, “but this has nothing to do with gender.”

“Rather, each of the teams have negotiated for different compensation models under their respective collective bargaining agreements,” the federation said.

The federation said under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) the women have “chosen to have a guaranteed salary,” in which the federation pays each contracted player a base salary of $10,000 per year.

“In contrast, the men’s national team players have no guaranteed salary and are only paid for the training camps they attend and the games they play, plus game bonuses,” the federation said.

Another difference the federation notes is contracted women’s players receiving $67,000–$72,500 salary for playing in the National Women’s Soccer League, which it said is not offered to men who play in Major League Soccer.

“Again, although players on our Men’s National Team can earn larger bonuses, they are guaranteed nothing; they have a different contract structure,” the federation said.

Levinson disputes federation's claims.

"In the most recent CBA negotiation, USSF proposed a compensation structure that is exactly the same as the MNT's compensation structure but with less compensation across the board. In every instance, win or draw for a friendly or competitive match, the women players were offered less compensation. Equal Pay was never on the table for the women regardless of structure,” she said in her statement. 

The 28 members of the team sued U.S. Soccer in March over “institutionalized gender discrimination.”

Their call for equal pay was highlighted after their historic win, with crowds chanting for equal pay and players throwing shreds of the lawsuit around as confetti during celebrations.

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