Canada’s men’s national soccer team was kept off the field on Friday, refusing to train in Sunday’s World Cup friendly preparations against Panama due to a row over players’ compensation, according to informed sources.
It’s not clear if the players will appear at a training session scheduled for Saturday at UBC. It was also unclear whether the players had threatened not to play Sunday’s game in Vancouver, which was scheduled after Canada Football Club canceled a friendly match against Iran due to political pressure. The team is also scheduled to face Curacao at BC Place on June 9.
Sources said the players have been at loggerheads with Football Canada’s executives for months after the national organization offered the team a new contract. A contract offer was made to players in April.
A spokesperson for Football Canada did not respond to a request for comment.
The proposed contract includes an initial payment structure to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar and includes specific bonuses dependent on Canada’s progress in the event.
This year’s World Cup winner will receive $42 million (US) out of a total FIFA prize pool of $440 million.
It is unclear how much money teams will make to qualify for the tournament, which begins on November 21, but Football Canada is believed to be preparing to receive more than $10 million from FIFA, informed sources said.
Soccer Canada has proposed that men’s national team players receive about 10 percent of the $10 million, with the balance earmarked to fund items including costs for running the organization, a proposed national training center in Vaughn, Ontario, and grassroots soccer initiatives, sources added. The men’s national team asked for about 40 percent of the World Cup bonus to be distributed to 33 players.
Canadian national team players and agents have been in touch with members of the US men’s national team, which recently agreed to a new contract with the NFL in which the men’s and women’s teams will be paid the same price for match appearances and championship victories.
The new US contracts include an unprecedented redistribution of the millions of dollars in World Cup prize money that men’s and women’s teams can earn by playing in the tournament, and also contain new revenue-sharing agreements that could see players receive millions more from their stakes. American football business revenue each year.
US national team players will now be paid $24,000 for winning a World Cup qualifier, bonuses for promotional appearances, a portion of every ticket sold, plus benefits including childcare (for both men’s and women’s team players) and matching payments to 401 retirement plans (K ).
Canada Soccer has told players it can’t afford similar deals because it doesn’t have full control over its broadcast and sponsorship rights thanks to a long-term contract it signed in 2018 with Canadian Soccer Business, an organization with links to the Canadian Premier League.
The sources said that some Canadian national football team players were also disturbed by Football Canada’s plans to support the players’ families during the World Cup.
The sources said that Canada Soccer informed the players that they will get two free tickets for each of the World Cup matches in Canada, and that families and close friends will be responsible for paying for their own way to Qatar and for their accommodation.
The sources said that during the past World Cup tournaments, some European countries provided each player with up to eight tickets per match, covering the cost of accommodation, and charter flights for their families.