U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe called it “ridiculous and disappointing” that two men’s soccer tournaments were scheduled on the same day as the women’s World Cup championship.
“It’s ridiculous, and disappointing, to be honest,” Rapinoe said of the scheduling move, according to CBS News.
On Sunday, the U.S. national women’s team will face off against the Netherlands, seeking a third World Cup title.
That same day, the U.S. national men’s soccer team will be competing in the Concacaf Gold Cup against Mexico. The South America men’s soccer championship will also take place later that evening between Brazil and Peru.
In statement to The New York Times, Victor Montagliani, the president of Concacaf, blamed the scheduling mishap on a “clerical error.”
However, FIFA said the Sunday schedule will bring more attention to soccer as a whole in a statement reported by The Associated Press.
“The scheduling of the different events has gone through a comprehensive consultancy process, which has involved all key stakeholders and taken into account different aspects of the women’s and men’s international match calendars,” the body said in the statement.
“It is a rare and exciting occurrence,” the statement continued.
However, former U.S. soccer star Aly Wagner slammed the Sunday game schedule in a statement, calling it “terrible,” according to the AP.
“It is so disturbing to me that the Women’s World Cup does not have its own day to stand on its own and have a final to highlight these tremendous athletes and their work and their accomplishment,” she said. “They wouldn’t dream of doing it to the men. Why would they do it to the women?”
The U.S. women’s soccer team is embroiled in a battle for equal pay, having sued the U.S. Soccer Federation over alleged gender-based discrimination. The two parties have tentatively agreed to mediation on the issue following the World Cup.