Canada men's football team go on strike & demand equal pay for women's side

Canada men and women's national football teams

The Canadian men’s football team demanded an “equitable pay structure” with their female counterparts as they went on strike on Sunday.

The side refused to play a friendly match against Panama yesterday amid a contract dispute with Canada Soccer.

It was confirmed the fixture was cancelled less than two hours before kick-off, leaving fans at BC Place in Vancouver disappointed.

The players released a statement to explain their position, claiming negotiations over a new deal had been “unnecessarily prolonged” and the team were being “disrespected”.

“We want to work together with our organisation, but the relationship has been strained for years,” the statement said.

“And now, Canada Soccer has disrespected our team and jeopardised our efforts to raise the standards and effectively advance the game in Canada.”

The statement mainly focuses around World Cup prize money, with Canada set to play at the men’s tournament in November for only the second time in the country’s history.

The players are calling for an “equitable pay structure”, along with the women’s national team, that would see them earn 40 percent of World Cup prize money. They have also called for the development of a women’s domestic league.

This pay structure would be different to the one recently agreed in the United States, where the men and women’s teams will share the prize money from their respective World Cups equally.

In a statement, the Canadian women’s team said they did not view the suggestion from the male players as equal pay, due to the difference in prize money offered at the respective World Cups.

“The women’s national team will not accept an agreement that does not offer equal pay,” the statement said.

The female stars instead called Canada Soccer’s latest offer – 60 percent of prize money split equally between players on the men’s and women’s teams – as a “positive step” toward pay equity.

Canada Soccer President Nick Bontis claimed the offer had been “benchmarked” against other national teams, adding: “Canada Soccer has been working with the players in good faith to find a path forward that is fair and equitable to all.

“We would like to have a facts-based discussion within the fiscal reality that Canada Soccer has to live with every day.

“Canada Soccer is committed to the principles of fairness and equity, and we believe we presented a fair offer to the players.”

The Canadian women’s team has played at seven World Cups, achieving a best finish of fourth place in 2003. In comparison, the men’s side have never reached the knockout stage of the tournament.

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