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Canada men’s national team on strike, won’t play friendly vs. Panama

Sportsnaut
Mar 27, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;   Canada defender Doneil Henry (15) controls the ball against Jamaica midfielder Atapharoy Bygrave (18) in the second half of a FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer match at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Canadian men’s national soccer team has gone on strike over a compensation dispute with its governing body and will not take the field Sunday in Vancouver for a World Cup warmup game against Panama.

The Canadians qualified for the 2022 World Cup in what will be just their second appearance, the first coming in 1986.

The players released a letter Sunday expressing their displeasure with how Canada Soccer has gone about negotiating with them. They asked for a business agreement Canada Soccer signed in 2018 to be “disclosed and corrected” and for an equitable pay structure, along with the women’s national team, that would net them 40 percent of World Cup prize money.

TSN first reported that players have been unhappy with Canada Soccer since April, when it offered a new contract they deemed unacceptable.

National team players reportedly would receive about 10 percent of the $10 million-plus FIFA is set to award the country. But Canada Soccer responded to TSN Saturday by saying its offer was 60 percent to be split equally between players on the men’s and women’s teams.

“To be clear, the Men’s National Team demand was for 75-100 percent of the World Cup prize money,” Canada Soccer said in a statement. “The Association, in an effort to adhere to the principle of pay equity, proposed 60 percent of the FIFA World Cup prize money to be split between the two National Teams (i.e., 30 percent + 30 percent to the players of each team) and 40 percent for the Association. The Association believes that this proposal follows the principles of fairness and equity.”

Players also were upset with the limited way Canada Soccer will support their families and friends during the World Cup. TSN reported the governing body only offered two family tickets per player, with no financial assistance for travel or lodging in Qatar.

Canada is scheduled to play again Thursday against Curacao to open their CONCACAF Nations League slate.

–Field Level Media