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Canada Soccer Reaches Interim Funding Agreement With Women’s National Team

Canada Soccer Reaches Interim Funding Agreement With Women’s National Team

Erin WalshMarch 3, 2023

Canada players huddle on the pitch after a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match against the United States, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Canada Soccer has reached an interim funding agreement with its women’s national team for 2022 amid negotiations on a final collective bargaining agreement, it announced Thursday in a statement.

TSN’s Rick Westhead clarified that while players will be compensated for their work in 2022, Canada Soccer and the women’s national team have not reached an agreement on the 2023 budget.

The Canadian women’s national team’s last CBA with Canada Soccer expired in 2021, and players have been fighting for equal treatment, pay, funding and resources ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The interim funding agreement includes terms similar to that of the Canadian men’s national team, including per-game incentives and results-based compensation. The agreement is subject to change on the details included in the final CBA.

Canada Soccer’s general secretary Earl Cochrane said in a statement:

“This is about respect, this is about dignity, and this is about equalising the competitive environment in a world that is fundamentally unequal. We have been consistent and public about the need to have fairness and equal pay be pillars of any new agreements with our players, and we are delivering on that today. While this is an important step forward, and it signals progress, there is still more work to do to ensure both of our national programs are given the necessary resources and supports to prepare and compete.”

The news comes after the Canadian women’s national team threatened a work stoppage before the SheBelieves Cup last month, citing budget cuts, equal pay issues and a lack of support from its governing body.

The women’s national team ended up competing in the tournament under protest after being threatened with legal action. Players even took the field for their opening match against the United States wearing shirts that read “enough is enough.”

Just Women’s Sports @justwsports

Canadian WNT players wore “Enough is Enough” shirts at the SheBelieves Cup in protest of labor disputes with Canada Soccer. pic.twitter.com/m7bkWeuGCM

Nick Bontis, the former president of Canada Soccer, resigned earlier this week, citing a need for change amid conflict with both the men’s and women’s national teams.

“While I have been one of the biggest proponents of equalizing the competitive performance environment for our Women’s National Team, I will unfortunately not be leading this organization when it happens. I acknowledge that this moment requires change,” he said in a statement.

Additionally, women’s national team players Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, Sophie Schmidt and Quinn are set to testify before the Heritage Committee on March 9 in Ottawa, according to Westhead.

Members of Parliament “want to hear their views on Canada Soccer’s pay equity issues and drastic budget cuts in a World Cup year,” Westhead added.

The Canadian women’s national team is back in action on April 11 against France before traveling to Australia and New Zealand this summer for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Highlighted by a gender discrimination lawsuit filed in March 2019, it took the United States women’s national team years to reach a suitable collective bargaining agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The USWNT settled their equal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for $24 million in February 2022 before reaching a historic collective bargaining agreement with the federation in May 2022 that included equal pay structures for the men’s and women’s national teams.

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