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February 3, 2016
U.S. Soccer sues women's players, says there is a CBA with women's national team players

CHICAGO - U.S. Soccer Wednesday night said it had reluctantly filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago to confirm the existence of the current collective bargaining agreement with the Women's National Team Player Association.

The federation said that the CBA has been in place since 2013 and is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016.

The players association says the agreement expired in 2012.

U.S. Soccer said it felt it was necessary to take this course of action after Richard Nichols, the newly appointed executive director of the WNTPA, notified U.S. soccer's governing body that he does not believe there to be a current CBA, a position that would allow the team to take labor actions on and after Feb. 24. The federation said that was a view inconsistent with the negotiating history and directly contrary to the position of the prior executive director who actually negotiated the current agreement.

The U.S. women, who captured the Women's World Cup last year, will compete in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship in Texas from Feb. 8-21.

"We are confident the court will confirm the existence and validity of the current CBA, which has been in effect since U.S. Soccer and the Women's National Team Players Association reached agreement almost three years ago," U.S. Soccer said in a statement. "During that time, U.S. Soccer has complied with all of its obligations included in the CBA.

"While unfortunate, we believe taking this action provides the parties with the most efficient path to a resolution, in an effort to not jeopardize the team's participation in any competitions this year, including the 2016 Olympic Games. Obtaining a prompt resolution on the validity of the current CBA will allow both parties to focus on continuing negotiations in good faith on the next CBA that would start in 2017."

The federation added: "U.S. Soccer is the recognized world leader for the advancement of women's soccer and is actively engaged in improving the opportunities for young girls playing soccer across the country. We recognize the tremendous value that the women's national team brings to the game of soccer, and we look forward to continuing our work with the players to address their concerns and continuing to help improve the game in the future."

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