Responding publicly for the first time to weeks of public and even congressional criticism since the US 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.
The U.S. Women's National Team filed a lawsuit in March against the USSF claiming that women were consistently paid less than the men.
Corderio said the federation's analysis showed that U.S. Soccer paid female players $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses from 2010-2018, while paying the men $26.4 million during the same period.
"For every game a man plays on the MNT he makes a higher base salary payment than a woman on the WNT".
He said it was hard to compare the pay of the men's and women's national teams because of differing compensation structures; that a vast divide in Federation Internationale de Football Association prize money for men and women skews any comparison of compensation; and that the women's team has produced per-game revenues that were, on average over 10 years, half of those generated by the men's national team.
"This is a sad attempt by USSF to quell the overwhelming tide of support the USWNT has received from everyone from fans to sponsors to the United States Congress", Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players in the gender lawsuit, said in a statement. Talk of pay and fairness had hovered over the tournament since its start, in part because 28 members of the American team filed suit against the federation in March, arguing that they were victims of years of "institutionalized gender discrimination" that affected not only their incomes but almost every feature of their interactions with U.S. Soccer. The federation doesn't pay professional salaries for the men.
"The USSF fact sheet is not a 'clarification, '" Levinson's statement said acidly.
She adds, "Any apples to apples comparison shows that the men earn far more than the women".
U.S. Soccer on Monday released a lengthy fact sheet detailing its financial commitment to the World Cup-winning women's national team program, stepping squarely into the debate about equal pay only weeks before the federation and the team are scheduled to enter mediation to try to resolve the players' federal gender discrimination lawsuit. During that span, the men reached the round of 16 in 2010 and 2014 and failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament.
The U.S. women play their first game since the World Cup on Saturday against Ireland in the Rose Bowl, site of the famous 1999 World Cup final that cemented the team's place in the mainstream sporting consciousness. For the 2019 Women's World Cup, it was $30 million.
Cordeiro said in the letter that the federation made a decision to focus on winning the World Cup rather than debate the lawsuit.
"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.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that women's game produced more total revenue than men's games in the three years after the US won the 2015 Women's World Cup. The victory spurred chants of "equal pay" at the final in Lyon, France, and again at a ticker-tape parade held for the team in NY a few days later.
U.S. Soccer said it pays the women's national team players a base salary of $100,000 per year, and an additional $67,500 to $72,500 per player as a salary for playing in the National Women's Soccer League. The suit alleges that the federation illegally pays the women less than the men, despite the women's superior results.
And even as he heaped praise on the players who have argued publicly and loudly for better treatment - Cordeiro called the World Cup winners "an inspiration to us all and truly some of the greatest athletes that our nation has ever produced" - he also raised familiar arguments about why their pay was different.
"From 2009 through 2019-a timeframe that includes two Women's World Cup championships-the Women's National Team has earned gross revenue of $101.3 million over 238 games, for an average of $425,446 per game and the Men's National Team has earned gross revenue of $185.7 million over 191 games, for an average of $972,147 per game".
The federation didn't release information about the men's bonus structure.
Players on the men's national team are paid by training camp call-ups, game appearances and through performance bonuses.
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