U.S. Soccer's Cordeiro: Talks on 'identical compensation' rebuffed by women

A day before the U.S. women's national team plays Spain in their second game at the SheBelieves Cup and two days before the filing of the women's players' opposition to U.S. Soccer's motion for summary judgment in the gender discrimination lawsuit pending in U.S. district court in Los Angeles, U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro updated the federation's membership on its latest position.

Cordeiro said the federation offered the U.S. Women's National Team Players Association "multiple contract options" to provide identical compensation to all men's and women’s national team all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer and the offers to meet have been rejected. He did not include details of the what constituted games the federation controlled.

The heart of the dispute is how to deal with the distribution of prize money awarded by FIFA for the Men’s and Women’s World Cups. FIFA awarded the French federation $38 million for the Bleus' title in 2018 while U.S. Soccer received $4 million for the USA's 2019 women's title defense.

Cordeiro emphasized that World Cup prize money at issue is determined by FIFA, not U.S. Soccer, and the federation's obligations are to grow all its national teams and all its 113 member organization and it is "not reasonable or fiscally sound for U.S. Soccer to make up the gap" in prize money.

“It would seriously impair our ability to support our mission and invest in these other critical developmental areas," he wrote.

The federation's position in its legal filings has been that the men's and women's national team contracts are different, not unequal, and they are based on compensation models reached a result of good-faith bargaining with two separate unions, each with different goals and priorities when they negotiated their current agreements.

In the recent legal filings, an expert for the women estimated that the damages in their case exceed $66 million.

Molly Levinson, the spokeswoman for the women's national team players in their suit against U.S. Soccer, described Cordeiro's letter as being "riddled with falsehoods" and said the equal-pay offer related to the men's collective bargaining agreement reached in 2011.

Sunday’s USA-Spain game is expected to draw a sellout crowd at Red Bull Arena. It comes on the one-year anniversary of the lawsuit 28 players filed against U.S. Soccer on International Women’s Day.

5 comments about "U.S. Soccer's Cordeiro: Talks on 'identical compensation' rebuffed by women".
  1. Bob Ashpole, March 8, 2020 at 11:23 a.m.

    If I was running USSF, I would be a lot more concerned about the Title VII suit and possible remedies that the Equal Pay Suit.

    FIFA prize money is not the issue. That money goes to USSF, not the players. It is a distraction. USSF contractual promises of performance bonuses and other pay issues are the issue. What USSF receives from FIFA and other sources is irrelevant for employees not paid on a commission basis. USSF is still grandstanding and trying to win the lawsuit in the media. Stupid tactic. The judge will resolve the matter without considering USSF's press releases unless and until punative damages are being awarded.

  2. R2 Dad, March 9, 2020 at 7:53 p.m.

    Julie Foudy thinks revenue sharing is the solution, so that mens and womens teams have a contract more like MLB. Seems like USSF views this like a biblical splitting the baby. My concern is that USSF encourages our women to stay in the team longer than they should because of the financial incentives from the world cup and "victory tour" are needed for women because their base pay is so small. Carli Lloyd is turning 38 this year, clearly over the hill and taking the place of younger more technical players in their 20's. How do we get MLS/SUM out of USSF? USSF should have a fiduciary responsibility to the players and parents of this country AHEAD of MLS and SUM.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, March 10, 2020 at 7:05 p.m.

    The gender discrimination is extremely clear in that USSF paid women a lower per diem rate than men. It was so indefensible, that USSF raised the per diem rate for women after the original action was brought. (The old rate is still an issue for back pay for the period before the raise.)

    What they are paid doesn't concern me. Equal pay is what concerns me. The USSF offering to pay women in their new CBA the same as it paid men in the their 2011 CBA has to be a joke if it is suggested as a defense to the current litigation FOR BACK PAY.

    USSF appears to anticipate losing the lawsuit and is trying to generate public sympathy before that story breaks.

    While Cordeiro was VP of USSF, he publicly admitted that USSF discriminated against women. While in theory USSF may convince the judge that a VP and member of the board didn't know what was actually happening, in practice that is what I would call an uphill fight. If I had a client in that situation, I would advise settling, early.

  4. Bob Ashpole, March 11, 2020 at 12:22 a.m.

    I haven't been able to get access to the filings, but other media reports that USSF filed a motion to dismiss, not a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs are reported to have filed a summary judgment motion.

  5. Bob Ashpole, March 11, 2020 at 12:32 a.m.

    According to other media reports, USSF has told the US District Court that it cannot hear a gender discrimination claim because men are stronger than women. I hope that is not an accurate report.

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