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U.S. Women End Money Dispute with USSF

January 5, 1996 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) _ The U.S. Soccer Federation and nine of its top women players on Thursday settled a financial dispute that threatened to keep the players from this summer’s Olympics.

The agreement allows the players to report to the team’s training camp in Sanford, Fla., in the next few days.

Details of the deal were not released by either the USSF or the players’ representative, Ellen Zavian.

``This is a win-win situation for everyone involved,″ said federation secretary-general Hank Steinbrecher. ``Our mutual goal has been and continues to be to field the best team possible when women’s soccer debuts as an Olympic sport this summer in Atlanta.″

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The dispute had centered on what the players had to do to qualify for a $250,000 bonus offered by the federation.

In addition to salaries of $3,000-4,000 a month, the federation had offered the bonus to the 16 women on the Olympic team only if they won the gold medal,

The nine included co-captains Julie Foudy and Carla Overbeck, Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm and Carin Gabarr. They contended the money should be incremental _ a bonus for a bronze, a larger bonus for a silver and the entire amount if they win the title.

The team won the 1991 world championship and finished third last summer.

``We look forward to representing our country and to winning the gold medal in Atlanta,″ Overbeck said. ``We are dedicated to the development of women’s soccer in the U.S. and want to take full advantage of the opportunity the Olympics will provide.″

During the dispute, both sides agreed they would not publicly discuss the matter. Federation spokesman Tom Lange said that agreement remained in effect.

Zavian said in a statement that ``an opportunity to represent their country is a goal the women have been focused on since the beginning.″ She did not immediately return a telephone call seeking more details.

The nine holdouts were barred from a pretraining camp in San Diego last month after they refused the USSF’s initial offer. They are expected to report to the more important Florida camp, where the team will prepare for the Atlanta Games.