On Soccer: Thorny Issues Divide U.S. Soccer, and Its Fans

The issue is complicated, to be sure, though it is hard not to wonder if the vitriol over the subject — which has shown few signs of diminishing — might have been tempered if it had not burst into view with the sudden announcement that U.S. Soccer was suing the popular team only months after it won the Women’s World Cup. The team (and its supporters) argue that the players are significantly underpaid, and some components of the dispute do seem clearly sexist: that women’s team members receive less per diem money and smaller fees for doing off-field appearances than the men, in particular, is glaring.

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Alejandro Bedoya in June. “I think the equal-pay-for-equal-play argument is flawed, and it’s flawed because sports business is atypical,” he said.

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Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The rancor that exists, then, is significant, particularly for a federation which has, to its credit, been instrumental in building up a team that features some of the most famous female athletes in the world. And with the wage-discrimination complaint proceeding, the team’s…

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