2023 FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
Canada women’s team agree interim funding deal to end pay dispute ahead of 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
The prospect of funding cuts and pay inequality had led to protests, threats of a boycott and the resignation of the Canada Soccer president.
The Canadian women’s national soccer team has reached an interim funding deal with governing body Canada Soccer which appears to have allayed fears of a potential strike, at least for the time being. A statement issued by Canada Soccer on Thursday began: “Canada Soccer has announced that a deal in principle has been reached with the Women’s National Team Players on an interim funding agreement, for 2022. The terms of the interim agreement mirror a similar deal with the Men’s National Team Players that includes per-game incentives and results-based compensation.”
What threats have the Canadian women’s team made?
The team’s previous deal with Canada Soccer had expired in 2021 and the prospect of funding cuts and pay inequality as part of the new agreement had led to severe unrest amongst the roster. Before Canada’s SheBelieves Cup match against the USMNT on 16 February, the players protested by wearing purple t-shirts brandished with the slogan ‘enough is enough’ as they fought to have the same resources available to them for the upcoming 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as their male counterparts did at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
The team had threatened to boycott an upcoming team camp in April if their conditions were not met, with Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis resigning from his position on Monday because of his role, acknowledging that “this moment requires change”.
What did USWNT star Megan Rapinoe say about the Canada protests?
High-profile American stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan both gave their full backing to the Canadian team when asked about the protests on the occasion of the SheBelieves Cup clash. “To have their federation meet them this way after winning a world championship is just f***ing wild to me. We’re with them all the time,” was Rapinoe’s frank conclusion.
“This is about respect, this is about dignity, and this is about equalising the competitive environment in a world that is fundamentally unequal,” said Earl Cochrane, Canada Soccer’s General Secretary. “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 statement also revealed that a final collective bargaining agreement was still being negotiated, which signalled that the interim funding agreement was “subject to change” depending on the details of the final agreement.
Canada: Gold medal winners in Tokyo
The Canadian Women’s team won an Olympic gold medal in the 2020 Olympics (which took place in 2021) in Tokyo and reached the knockout stages of the last two FIFA Women’s World Cups.
They have been drawn in Group B of the 2023 tournament, which will played in Australia and New Zealand, alongside the first of those two host nations, the Republic of Ireland and Nigeria. They will kick off their World Cup campaign against the Nigerians in Melbourne on 21 July.