By Ken Reed
Both U.S. Soccer and the U.S. women’s national team (USWNT) want to settle their equal pay case before it’s scheduled to go to trial on May 5th. While it’s highly likely the coronavirus pandemic may delay the trial date, efforts are still being made to settle the dispute sooner rather than later.
The fact U.S. Soccer has a new leadership team in place has sparked newfound hope that a settlement can be reached before the trial. Cindy Parlow Cone is the new president of U.S. Soccer and Will Wilson is the soccer federation’s new CEO. Both say they want to get this dispute settled as soon as possible so the federation can move forward in a unified and positive direction.
“That’s one of our top priorities right now,” said Parlow Cone, who won a World Cup and Olympic gold medal as a USWNT player.
“I don’t think a trial is good for either party, or for soccer, both in this country or internationally. Obviously, our women’s team is the best team in the world, and I’m hopeful that we can find a resolution before this goes to trial.”
“I would echo that,” said Wilson, who was announced this week as the new U.S. Soccer CEO. “It’s a priority, and finding a solution would be the best way to go forward.”
Previous U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro resigned after the federation’s insulting legal tactics against the USWNT were revealed publicly.
In a court filing in the equal pay case, U.S. Soccer argued players on the women’s team are inherently less skilled than men and don’t have the same responsibilities as their male counterparts. The USWNT quickly called this a sexist strategy. It also spurred an outcry from sponsors, leading to Cordeiro’s resignation.
Parlow Cone has struck a conciliatory tone since taking over.
“Settling this dispute is only the first step,” Parlow Cone said.
“But the next step is a long process. I think a lot of damage has been done, and I think we are going to have to rebuild that trust and rebuild the relationship, and it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of effort and time and energy from the U.S. Soccer side to rebuild that trust, not only with our U.S. women’s national team players, but with our fans and everyone engaged in the sport.”
It seems U.S. Soccer finally gets it and has decided that belittling the USWNT — reigning World Cup champions by the way — is clearly damaging to the federation’s brand and reputation.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
A League of Fans Special Report