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Carlos Cordeiro sends open letter on equal pay, USWNT responds

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Another round of he said, they said, but maybe with some misleading details?

United States Women’s National Team Introduce Head Coach Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Carlos Cordeiro sent an open letter into the world today, addressing the ongoing equal pay fight with the US women’s national team, which you can read below.

The main points Cordeiro makes are:

  • USSF offered the WNT Players Association multiple contract options, which they “strongly believe” addressed the team’s concerns, and have offered to provide “identical compensation to our women’s and men’s players for all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer.”
  • The $66 million the women are seeking “is the difference in prize money between the last two FIFA Men’s and Women’s World Cups.”
  • Obviously USSF simply cannot afford to make up the difference in WC prize money between the men and women, a difference which is controlled by FIFA.

A representative for the players sent out this response the same day:

Levinson says unequivocally that USSF “did not and has never offered equal pay to the women players” and that their offer for identical compensation for USSF-controlled games is based on the MNT’s rates from 2011, rates which are currently under negotiation and may change soon, and designed that offer to leave out games like the current SheBelieves Cup. She also says that USSF asked to speak to players and their legal counsel privately, then leaked these conversations to the media.

One thing that sticks out in particular from Cordeiro’s open letter is his claim that “they are seeking more than $66 million dollars, which is the difference in prize money between the last two FIFA Men’s and Women’s World Cups.” However, this $66M figure likely refers to the USWNT hiring an economic expert who said that that amount is what the players would be owed in backpay under Title VII, had they been compensated under the men’s collective bargaining agreement, and is not directly related to making up the difference in World Cup prize money.

So it may be that $66M is coincidentally the same amount as the difference in World Cup prize money, but the $66M figure the players have cited is about what they would have gotten had they been paid at the same rate as the men for playing for US Soccer.

Players will undoubtedly answer some questions around the World Cup prize money confusion after their game against Spain today (Sunday) - Cordeiro’s press release was sent out yesterday after the pre-matchday mixed zone with the players had concluded. We’ll keep you updated as statements are made.