The team released a statement on Sunday amid heated negotiations with Canada Soccer, which come less than a month after unions for the US men’s and women’s teams reached a historic agreement with US Soccer for equal pay.
“It’s time we took a stand for the future of soccer in Canada,” the statement said.
The men said they wanted 40% 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 undermined our efforts to raise the standards and effectively advance the game in Canada.”
Nick Bontis, president of Canada Soccer, apologized to fans who had planned to attend the match on Sunday at a press conference on Sunday evening, but also called the players’ demands untenable.
The players said they entered into discussions with Soccer Canada in March and that the federation made them “an archaic offer” on June 2.
“Canada Soccer is working in good faith with the players to find a fair and equitable path for all. We would like to have a fact-based discussion within the fiscal reality that Canada Soccer has to live with every day,” Bontis replied. “Canada Soccer is committed to the principles of justice and fairness and we believe we have presented a fair offer to the players. We compared our offer to that of other national teams around the world. On the issue of gender equity, raised in the letter from the players, Canada Soccer’s offer also commits to providing the exact same conditions for our Women’s National Team.
Canada’s women’s team is ranked sixth in the world and won gold at the Olympics last year. The women’s team weighed in on the dispute on Sunday, saying negotiations with the federation had been ongoing since January.
“The women’s national team will not accept a deal that does not offer equal pay,” the players said.
Midfielder Jonathan Osorio, a regular absent from the current roster due to injury, told The Canadian Press that flights and accommodation have improved since former women’s coach John Herdman became the men’s coach in January 2018.
“I think what we’re asking of the players is fair,” midfielder Jonathan Osorio, a regular absent from the current roster due to injury, told The Canadian Press. “We don’t want to be treated any more specially than similar teams we compare ourselves to. We just want to be respected and not exploited and just get our fair share.
The United States men’s team drew 0-0 against Uruguay on Sunday as they also prepare for the World Cup in Qatar from November.
“They’re trying to say, ‘Hey, we deserve it because we’ve done something that hasn’t been done and we’re the players who are going to kind of carry the torch for this country moving forward'” said American defender Walker Zimmerman, a leader of the American Men’s Union. “I don’t know the finer details, but it’s definitely a firm stance to get their money’s worth.”
Panama were a late substitute after Canada Soccer called off a game against 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 .
FIFA did not respond to a request for comment.
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