April 8 (UPI) -- The trial date for the equal pay lawsuit by the United States Women's National Team against the U.S. Soccer Federation has been delayed a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The trial had been set to begin May 5, but was moved Wednesday to June 16 by Judge Gary Klausner of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The jury trial is to be held in Los Angeles.
A pretrial conference set for April 20 has been moved to June 1. California has suspended all courthouse activity through the end of April and is under a stay-at-home order.
"This is a time when everyone is focused on keeping our communities as safe and healthy as possible, including the players, but also the legal teams, and courts across the country," the players said through spokeswoman Molly Levinson.
"Our hearts are with everyone who is struggling because of the global pandemic -- fans across the world, and it is important for everyone to stay home, and stay strong."
The lawsuit, filed in March, initially included 28 players who alleged that the federation used "institutionalized gender discrimination" toward the women's team. It was filed under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The plaintiffs were granted class status in November, meaning players from 2015 to the present day can be represented. Seventy-two women have opted into the class. The players have asked for more than $66 million in damages.
Federation president Carlos Cordeiro resigned a day after apologizing for "inexcusable" language used in March filings against the players in the lawsuit.
The federation's rebuttal said that being a men's player "requires a higher level of skill" and men's players have "more responsibility" than women's players. The law firm responsible for the arguments withdrew from the lawsuit last week.
The federation has hired a new president, Cindy Parlow Cone, who has said wants to see a settlement in the equal pay lawsuit.
"I don't think a trial is good for either party, or for soccer in this country or internationally," Parlow Cone said in a March conference call.
"Obviously our women's team is the best team in the world, and I'm hopeful that we can find a resolution before this goes to trial," Cone said.
The federation has canceled all men's and women's national team friendlies in March and April due to pandemic.