U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro contended Monday that analysis of federation finances showed that it paid members of the women’s national team millions of dollars more than members of the men’s national team over a period of nearly a decade.
Responding publicly for the first time to weeks of public and even congressional criticism since the U.S. won the Women’s World Cup while national team players are in the midst of suing the federation for gender discrimination, Cordeiro sent an open letter to federation members that included the results of what he termed extensive analysis of 10 years of financial data.
Among the conclusions, which U.S. Soccer said were verified by an independent accounting firm, are that women’s players were paid $34.1 million by the federation from 2010 to 2018 in salaries and bonuses (2018 the most recent fiscal year for which information was available). That also includes the National Women’s Soccer League salaries paid by U.S. Soccer for national team-contracted players. Members of the men’s national team were paid $26.4 million by the federation over the same period, the analysis concluded.
“Just as our WNT players have shared their perspective, I strongly believe that you — as U.S. Soccer members, stakeholders, sponsors and partners — deserve to hear ours,” Cordeiro wrote Monday. “Now that the Women’s World Cup is behind us, a common understanding of key facts will also help advance our shared work to grow women’s soccer in America as well as the larger national discussion about equality.”
The men’s and women’s teams operate with separate collective bargaining agreements and with separate pay structures.
Cordeiro’s letter stipulated that the totals do not include money received by U.S. Soccer from FIFA for World Cup bonuses. With that money included, federation analysis said that the men earned $41 million for the same nine-year period, compared to $39.7 million for the women.
U.S. Soccer contends that it should not be held responsible for the inequity in FIFA prize money, with the winner of the men’s tournament in Russia last year receiving more ($38 million) than the total prize pool for the 24 teams in the recently concluded women’s tournament. Cordeiro said he continues to push FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the sport’s global governing body to increase prize compensation for the signature event in the women’s game.