Canadian women’s soccer players threaten strike over ‘significant cuts’ to program in World Cup year

Team Canada players celebrate winning the Tokyo 2020 Olympics women's final football match between Sweden and Canada at the Yokohama International Stadium in Yokohama, August 6, 2021.  (Photo by Tiziana FABI/AFP) (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
The Canadian women’s soccer team won gold at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

Players on the Canadian women’s soccer team are threatening to strike ahead of an upcoming tournament in the United States after Canada Soccer, the sport’s national governing body, decided to “significantly cut back” its program. the players said on Friday.

IN statement The Canadian Players Association CSPA said on social media that it was “outraged and deeply concerned” by the lack of support shortly after the Men’s World Cup and in the months leading up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Players have stated that their preparation for this tournament, which starts in July, has been “compromised”; and that they felt “disappointed” and “deeply disrespected”. Janine Becky, one of the team’s stars, said they demanded a budget equal to what the men’s team received the previous year.

Instead, the players stated: “We have had to reduce not only training camp days but also full camp windows, reduce the number of players and staff invited to training camps, significantly limit the activities of already limited youth teams, all while continuing to face huge uncertainty regarding compensation.

“We were told that there would be no home game for our team before the World Cup. We were literally told that Canada Soccer could not adequately fund the women’s national team and they have been waiting to let us know until now. when the World Cup is less than six months away.

In closing, the players, many of whom won gold at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, stated that they are “committed to doing everything we can to raise public awareness of this crisis and get Canada Soccer to start properly supporting national teams.”

Shortly after the release of the statement, the two players stated on Canadian television that the team would not train until their demands were met. On Friday they practiced but were turned inside out in protest.

“Until this is resolved, I cannot represent this federation,” said Christine Sinclair, the top scorer in the history of international football. told TSN. “I’m such a competitor, it breaks my heart and kills me when I actually say those words out loud.”

The Canadian team is due to face the US on Thursday in Orlando as part of the four-team SheBelieves Cup tournament, which serves as an important launching pad and proving ground for the World Cup. It is not yet clear whether the players are ready to play this or subsequent games against Japan and Brazil.

Canada Soccer, in a statement responding to the playerssaid his representatives would meet with women’s players in Orlando on Saturday morning to “continue our discussions” on a collective bargaining agreement.

In its statement, the federation touted its “proven track record of supporting women’s football”, but gave only one example of increased support and did not directly respond to players’ concerns.

Shortly after the women released their statement, the Canadian male players, who withdrew from training last year due to contract disputes with Canada Soccer in their World Cup year, also posted a statement on social media. They said they were “deeply disappointed” by Canada Soccer’s actions and were “entirely supportive” of the women.

After the men briefly went on strike last June, male and female players banded together to call for an inquiry into Canada Soccer’s management and finances. They and the fans are skeptical about the relationship of the federation with private company Canada Soccer Businessrun by the owners of the men’s professional club league.

The players have called for transparency, but the federation has not released any financial statements that could justify what players say is a failure to “properly manage Canada Soccer or compensate players fairly”.

On Friday, the men said their budget had also been cut. They concluded their statement by urging Canadian Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge to “intervene” if Canada Soccer does not “take immediate action to respond to players’ demands and concerns”.


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