Canada footballers refuse game against Panama, equal pay in dispute
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Canada’s World Cup warm-up match against Panama was called off Sunday when the men’s team refused to play due to a labor dispute with the governing body of the country that includes a request for the women’s national team to get equal match fees.
The players, who are preparing for the country’s first appearance at the men’s World Cup since 1986, refused training on Friday and Saturday.
The players said they wanted 40 per cent of World Cup prize money, a travel package for friends and family and “a fair structure with our women’s national team which shares the same match costs for players, the percentage of prize money won at our respective FIFA World Cups and the development of a national women’s league.
“We want to work with our organization, but the relationship has been strained for years,” the players said in a statement. “And now Canada Soccer has disrespected our team and compromised our efforts to raise the standards and effectively advance the game in Canada. »
Unions for the United States men’s and women’s national teams announced agreements on May 18 calling for equal pay, including a pooling of World Cup prize money. The Canadian men said they wanted an equal percentage of prize money and equal match fees.
“In March, we entered into contract discussions with Canada Soccer,” the men’s national team said in a statement. “Due to leaders delaying the process and taking vacations, the negotiation process was unnecessarily prolonged. an archaic offer and the general secretary and president of the association only made themselves available for the first time to enter into contact with the players only on June 4 at 4 p.m. For these reasons, we have reluctantly decided not to play our match today against Panama.”
Richard Scott, a spokesman for the Canadian Soccer Association, did not respond to an email seeking comment. The governing body said in a statement on Saturday evening: “Canada Soccer is currently in discussions with its national team players regarding fair and equitable player compensation ahead of the FIFA World Cup period.”
FIFA did not respond to a request for comment.
Canada’s women’s team is ranked sixth in the world and won gold at the Olympics last year.
“I think what we’re asking of the players is fair,” midfielder Jonthan Osorio, a regular out of the current roster due to injury, told The Canadian Press. “We don’t want to be treated more specially than similar teams we compare ourselves to. We just want to be respected and not exploited and just get our fair share.
Osorio, 29, said flights and accommodation have improved since former women’s coach John Herdman became men’s coach in January 2018.
“It’s very different from what it was before,” Osorio said. “That said, there is a lot to do on the part of the federation. I think the players need to see more support from the federation now and not just rely on John to get things done. I think these things will come with results.
Panama was a late replacement as Sunday’s opponent, which was originally Iran. Canada’s governing body has abandoned Iran following criticism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Canada are scheduled to face Curacao in Vancouver on Thursday and Honduras on June 13, both in the CONCACAF Nations League. Number 38 Canada open World Cup Group F in Qatar against second-ranked Belgium on November 23, face number 16 Croatia four days later and number 24 Morocco on December 1 .
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