Parlow Cone to prioritise equal pay settlement with USWNT
Cindy Parlow Cone, the new US Soccer president, has said her top priority is to settle the federation’s gender discrimination lawsuit with members of the US women’s national team before the case goes to trial.
The women’s team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the national federation last year, which included complaints about wages and working conditions. The case is scheduled to go to trial in May.
In a conference call with reporters, Parlow Cone said: “That’s one of our top priorities right now. I don’t think a trial is good for either party or for soccer in this country or internationally. I’m hopeful we can find a resolution before this goes to trial.”
William Wilson, who was named chief executive and secretary general for the federation earlier this week, echoed Parlow Cone, adding: “It’s a priority, and finding a solution would be the best way forward.”
In response to the comments, Molly Levison, USWNT spokesperson, said: “The solution is clear, simple and unequivocal. Equal. Pay.”
No formal settlement meetings have been scheduled yet, partially due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Parlow Cone said: “We’re hopeful that we can schedule one very soon. It’s challenging right now with the backdrop of coronavirus. I’m a big believer in getting people in the same room and finding resolutions. In the meantime, we may have to settle with jumping on phone calls. I’m hopeful that will be the case in the coming weeks.”
Parlow Cone, a member of the 1999 Women’s World Cup-winning team, took over from Carlos Cordeiro earlier this month after he resigned having taken responsibility for the language used in a court filing in its defence against the suit.
In the filing, US Soccer lawyers stated there was “indisputable science” that proved women players were inferior to men and playing for the men’s team required a “higher level of skill” and “more responsibility”.
The language prompted public outcry, an on-field protest by players and sponsors, including Coca Cola and Deloitte, speaking out against it.
Parlow Cone said: “The comments and the language in the last filing I think not only hurt our relationship with our women’s national team, but hurt women and girls in general. They were personally hurtful to me. I think we have a lot of work in that area to do.
“A lot of damage has been done, and I think we are going to have to rebuild that trust and rebuild the relationship, and it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of effort and time and energy for the US Soccer side to rebuild that trust, not only with our US women’s national team players, but with our fans and everyone engaged in sport.”
Parlow Cone is due for re-election as US Soccer president in February 2021 but she declined to confirm if she would seek to remain in the position for the long-term.
She said: “With so many things going on with the federation and the world right now, I’m literally working day and night to ensure we have a smooth transition from Carlos to me as president, and with the hiring of Will, as our chief executive.
“As you can imagine, I didn’t plan to find myself in this position, so the decision to run for president will come in time. Right now, I’m focused on on-boarding Will as quickly as we can and getting ready to hit the ground running.”