Arbitrators tell USOC to hear Solo’s complaint about USSF

A three-woman arbitration panel has ordered the U.S. Olympic Committee to hear a complaint by former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo that accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of illegally favoring Major League Soccer.

Solo filed the complaint in January 2018 when she was among the candidates running for USSF president, a race she lost the following month to Carlos Cordeiro. Solo also accused the USSF of lacking financial transparency, responsibility to its members and independence, and of failing to provide equal support for women and sufficient opportunities for athletes with ambulatory cerebral palsy, stroke or traumatic brain injury.

A USOC panel dismissed the complaint last July, ruling Solo failed to pursue and exhaust her claims within the USSF grievance process, a necessary step under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

In a decision dated Tuesday and released by Solo on Friday, arbitrators Connie L. Peterson, Rebecca A. Albrecht and Carolyn B. Witherspoon ruled the USSF by-law calling for a single arbitrator to hear cases and for a three-person panel to decide appeals violates provisions in the Ted Stevens Act and USOC by-laws requiring 20 percent athlete representation on committees and panels that resolve grievances. They did not address the case’s merits.

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