US Soccer argued that the US Women's National Team are not as skilled as the Men's National Team in court filings relating to the team's on-going equal pay case.
The documents were filed on Monday and claim that competing against senior men's national teams "requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength" than that required of the USWNT players.
They also argue: "The job of a [men’s national team player] carries more responsibility within US Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player."
Buzzfeed reporter Molly Hensley-Clancy reported on the details of the documents and shared excerpts on Twitter explaining: "People doubted earlier that US Soccer was actually arguing that women are inherently inferior to men as part of the federation's attempt to prove it isn't discriminating against the USWNT based on gender".
In another set of court documents, players including Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan are shown to have been asked questions relating to these assertions.
Responding to a question about whether the USWNT could be competitive against the men's team, Lloyd said: "I’m not sure, shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?”
Morgan was asked whether more skill is needed to play for the Men's National Team than the Women's. She responded: “No, it’s a different skill.”
The USWNT is claiming that US Soccer violated the Equal Pay Act and has requested $67 million to compensate for the lost earnings.
Controversially, the president of US Soccer, Carlos Cordeiro released a letter the day before the USWNT were to play Spain in the SheBelieves Cup detailing why they hadn't resolved the court case.
Cordeiro explained that US Soccer had attempted to meet with the team who declined as the federation hadn't agreed to pay back the difference in prize money for previous World Cups. He wrote: "It is not reasonable or fiscally sound for U.S. Soccer to make up the gap."
The USWNT denounced the letter saying it was "riddled with falsehoods". Megan Rapinoe also criticised it, telling CNN: "We're trying to prepare for the Olympics and win this tournament, and be as good as we can be."
"Now we have to put effort towards this. You know, pull the media team, the lawyers and everybody out on Saturday.
"Not the nicest move I would say. I'm not sure it really achieved what it was intended to."
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