CHICAGO — Lydia Wahlke has resigned as chief legal officer of the U.S. Soccer Federation, two months after she was placed on administrative leave.
The federation announced her departure in a note to staff Thursday and said she will be a consultant through Sept. 15.
Wahlke was put on leave after USSF president Carlos Cordeiro resigned March 12 and was replaced by former national team player Cindy Parlow Cone, who had been vice president. Parlow Cone said the USSF legal process will be reviewed.
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The shakeup occurred after the law firm representing the USSF in a lawsuit by women’s national team players filed papers in federal court claiming the women’s team didn’t have the physical abilities or the same responsibilities as the men’s team. That sparked a furor that included an on-field protest by players wearing their warm-up jerseys inside out to hide the USSF crest. The federation then changed its law firm in the case.
Parlow Cone says she hopes to settle the suit by players, who asked for more than $66 million in damages.
“It should be clear that while Carlos Cordeiro did not review or approve of the offensive language in the filing, by personally resigning he decided to put the best interest of U.S. Soccer first,” Parlow Cone said in a statement.
A judge did not allow the players’ claim of discriminatory wages to go to trial, a decision players have asked for permission to appeal. Their claim of discriminatory working conditions remains scheduled for trial starting Sept. 15.
NEW YORK (AP) A promoter has sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, asking a court to order the governing body to sanction an Ecuador league match in Florida.
Relevent Sports filed suit Monday in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging the USSF illegally denied its application to have Ecuador’s Barcelona and Guayaquil clubs play on May 5 at Miami Gardens, Florida.
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The lawsuit quotes USSF policy as stating the governing body’s secretary general “shall grant such sanction unless it is decided by clear and convincing evidence that holding or sponsoring the international soccer competition would be detrimental to the best interest of the sport.”
In a letter sent Monday to Relevent, USSF chief legal officer Lydia Wahlke wrote FIFA “remains opposed to playing official league matches outside the territory of the member association(s) to which the relevant league belongs.”
The USSF issued a statement Tuesday saying it treated the request as a normal application and it asked Ecuador and South American soccer’s governing body about the proposal and never heard back. The USSF pointed out Relevent sued even before the USSF denied the application.
Relevent attempted to stage the first Spanish La Liga match in the U.S., between Barcelona and Girona, at Miami Gardens on Jan. 26. That effort fell through following opposition from the governing body of Spanish soccer, the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol, and the players’ union, the Asociacion de Futbolistas Espanoles.
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