KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Carlos Cordeiro has quit as head of the United States Soccer Federation over the body’s insulting response to its women players in the ongoing equal pay dispute.

Cordeiro led the bid team which won host rights to the men’s 2026 World Cup finals on behslf of the US, Canada and Mexico. But that could not save him after a storm of criticism over his clumsy mishandling of the pay issue.

The USSF, in a court documentation response, stated that the players in the enormously successful women’s world champion squad “do not perform equal work requiring equal skill [and] effort” to the men because “the overall soccer-playing ability required to compete at the senior men’s national team level is materially influenced by the level of certain physical attributes such as speed and strength.”

Cordeiro told a directors’ conference call that he had not read the document submitted by lawyers on Monday and that, had he done so, he would have objected to the language and tone.

He said: “It has been an incredible privilege to serve as the president of U.S. Soccer. My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our federation. After discussions with the board of directors, I have decided to step down, effective immediately.”

Cordeiro added: “Had I [read the papers] I would have objected to the language that did not reflect my personal admiration for our women’s players or our values as an organization.”

Culture war

Molly Levinson, spokesperson for the US women, acknowledged Cordeiro’s resignation but considered the legal stance had revealed a long-standing disciminatory culture within the USSF.

She said: “While it is gratifying that there has been such a deafening outcry against USSF’s blatant misogyny, the sexist culture and policies overseen by Carlos Cordeiro have been approved for years by the board of directors of USSF. This institution must change and support and pay women players equally.”

The players, before Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Japan in the SheBelieves Cup, wore their training gear inside out to hide the USSF crest.

Megan Rapinoe, the FIFA women’s player of the year and Women’s World Cup-winning star last year, said: “We’ve felt some of the undercurrent feelings for a long time but to see that as the argument, as blatant misogyny and sexism as the argument against us, was really disappointing.

“I’d say To every girl out there, to every boy out there, who watches this team, who wants to be on this team, or just wants to live their dream out, you are not lesser just because you’re a girl. You are not better just because you’re a boy.”

The USSF is currently facing six lawsuits over various issues but it was the response to the equal pay claim which proved the last straw for Cordeiro who had succeeded Sunil Gulati in 2018.

Cordeiro will be replaced on an interim basis by vice-president Cindy Parlow Cone.