Nerdshala spoke with US Soccer (and former USWNT star) president Cindy Parlo Coen about the ongoing CBA negotiations and the equal pay lawsuit.
A lot is happening right now. Where do things stand in the US Soccer Federation?
This is an unprecedented time. I don’t know if any other organization is negotiating two CBAs at once, while also trying to settle the litigation. At the same time, we are undergoing a change in our business structure and are bringing back our media rights. So it’s definitely an interesting time in US soccer.
The equal pay debate has largely been framed as USWNT vs USSF. Is it true? Or has the stance of US Soccer been misunderstood?
This is not a women’s team vs federation. We are on one side, and the sooner people realize this, the better it will be for us. We believe in equal pay and would love the opportunity to join hands with the USWNT and work towards equalizing not only the FIFA World Cup prize money, but also the overall investment in the women’s sport.
What is stopping this from happening? What is the biggest challenge in the search for equal pay?
The biggest hurdle is the FIFA World Cup prize money, as this is where the pay gap widens. I think FIFA will get there, but until they do, we’ve told the men’s and women’s players’ associations that we are not signing the CBA until we all agree that we How are you going to match the prize money? [on our end],
In September, the federation announced that it had offered equal contracts to men and women. can you talk to him?
We would love to have both the teams under the same contract. We know there can be small differences because women want something that men don’t and vice versa… the players’ union says “it’s equal.”
Is it even possible to have true “equal” pay given the difference between men’s and women’s sports?
Yes, you bring up some of the complexities of reaching an agreement. How do you get equal pay for two teams competing against different teams in different countries, on different schedules, in different tournaments, with different pay structures? It is challenging, but we have to find a structure that works for everyone.
One possible solution to the problem of FIFA prize money is that men voluntarily take less money, giving women more. Is this necessary?
It seems to me that whatever progress a woman has made throughout history, she needs male advocates. You look at our history and the history of other countries, and you look at that time and time again. The majorities have to pay attention to the minorities, and that is another matter of that.
This story is part of a special report on the state of American women’s football. It first appeared on Nerdshala Sports. (Register here.)
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