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U.S. Soccer Head Resigns Amid Fury Over Equal Pay Lawsuit (1)

March 13, 2020, 2:13 AM

The president of U.S. Soccer, Carlos Cordeiro, said he was resigning effective immediately amid widespread outrage over arguments the federation used in a lawsuit attempting to justify paying its four-time World Cup champion women’s soccer team less than their male counterparts.

U.S. Soccer argued in a legal filing that the women’s team is paid differently than the men’s team because its play is inferior and the competition worse, and it competes in less hostile stadiums. The language drew rebuke from members of both teams, plus MLS Commissioner Don Garber and perhaps most importantly, sponsors like Coca-Cola and Visa.

“The arguments and language contained in this week’s legal filing caused great offense and pain,” Cordeiro wrote in a letter announcing his departure. He said he didn’t fully review the filing in its entirety before it was submitted and, had he done so, he would’ve objected to certain language in it.

Cordeiro has been at U.S. Soccer for the past 13 years, serving as president for the last two. He will be replaced by current vice president Cindy Parlow Cone, who won a World Cup with the U.S. in 1999.

In March 2019, players on the Women’s National Team filed a gender discrimination suit against the USSF alleging they were unlawfully underpaid compared to the players on the Men’s National Team. Cordeiro had earlier apologized for the language in the court filing, and the U.S. Soccer Federation brought in a new law firm to join its defense.

The U.S. women’s team has four World Cup titles, which is four more than the U.S. men. The trial in their gender pay lawsuit begins May 5.

(Updates with additional sponsor backlash in second paragraph, details on Cordeiro and succession plans starting in fourth paragraph.)

--With assistance from Meghan Tribe.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Derek Wallbank in Singapore at dwallbank@bloomberg.net;
Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Chua Baizhen at bchua14@bloomberg.net

Chelsea Mes, Derek Wallbank

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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