VANCOVER – If you were to laugh, you’d probably say football Canada strikes again, with the exception of the Canadian men’s national soccer team which is blocking services at the moment, during the first two World Cup preparation windows for the first time since then. 1986. Predictably, since this is international football, I’m over the money.
TSN’s Rick Westhead reported on Saturday that Soccer Canada was offering its players 10 per cent of the World Cup prize pool and that the players wanted 40 per cent, which was the reason why Friday night’s on-field training session was postponed and eventually cancelled. . Saturday’s training session was a moving target all day before it was also canceled.
It’s chaos. Football Canada sources insisted that the actual offer of players was a wage package that would give 30 percent of the total World Cup revenue to male players and 30 percent to female players, and that the men were asking for 40 percent for team play money only — after taxes — and 75 percent of the money after that, although all the numbers here are slippery without details. There are also negotiations about the allocation of tickets, family travel and accommodation in Qatar. Football Canada President Nick Pontes and Deputy Secretary-General Earl Cochrane flew in on Saturday night and were said to be trying to negotiate with the men’s team to get players on the field. Sources say the players turned down Football Canada’s bid on Thursday, which led to Friday’s showdown.
It’s sloppy befitting the glorious history of Canada Soccer, at a critical moment. Soccer Canada had already lost $400,000 of its $1.5 million World Cup preparatory fund to an incorrect Iran match and has since been canceled, according to Iran, and hastily rescheduled Sunday’s Panama game with low-priced tickets. Canada will receive a minimum of $8 million in prize money to qualify for Qatar.
Pay disputes are nothing new in sports or in football, but Canada is picking at the moment. “Every minute together is crucial as we prepare to work collectively to give us the best opportunity to perform against some of the best players in the world on the biggest stage,” head coach John Herdman said before the World Cup training period. The players had a full session on the field on Wednesday and were given a day off on Thursday before services pulled out on Friday. Herdman only had 16 days of field training in Canada before Qatar in November: Two went.
Canadian players were said to follow USA football, but that’s not quite comparable: US teams recently agreed to a collective bargaining agreement that would pay both men and women players equally, splitting World Cup proceeds 9-10 in favor of the players. for 2022 and 2023 before moving to 85-15 through 2028. But the US has a long history of success, greater corporate sponsorship and a TV deal. Canada Soccer is expected to announce major sponsorships in the near future, although its finances are largely channeled through an organization called Canadian Soccer Business, which was formed in 2018 and has links to the newly formed Canadian Premier League.
And so while Herdman wants Canada to use every minute, this camp was a mess. The Iran-related cancellation was predictable and reckless, escalating to the point that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was spinning around and players were expressing reservations. This week, Canada played in Group F – Belgium, Croatia and Morocco – against the Netherlands, Austria and the United States respectively. All three teams lost in Group F, but at least they played reasonably high-level teams. Canada host Panama, assuming the match takes place, before a mandatory match against Curaçao on June 9 and the CONCACAF trip to Honduras on June 13.
Canada Soccer will certainly say two years of the pandemic have been tough on its finances, and Canadian Soccer Business may have been limiting its resilience. Players will surely say the reason there is money to fight is because Canada finally has the players and coach to escape the thick, thorny foliage of CONCACAF.
But the fact that this was announced – and that there was not even an agreement on what numbers are actually being negotiated – is an indication that both sides have real work to do, and that success is not a straight path.
It could be worse. The last time Canada’s men’s team reached the World Cup, four Canadian players were charged with bribery after a post-World Cup match against North Korea was thrown in Singapore, and they were eventually banned for one year. The current rush of sports betting on gold is sure to create some bad results in the sports world, but Canada isn’t even playing North Korea this year. So at least there is a relief that will never happen again.
But once again, Canada soccer has responded to an uncommon bit of fortune due to financial issues, and the result is a sport that is racing away from precious days looking younger than ever as it gears up for the big stage. It seems that it is not difficult to find special targets.
Join the conversation