Canada Women’s National Team Strikes, Demands New Leadership
Just days before the Canadian women’s national team will head to the US for the SheBelieves Cup, both Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie stand at the forefront of a women’s national team demanding change at Canada Soccer.
It’s been developing for some time, but the situation has now reached a boiling point after the women’s team was informed by Canada Soccer that major cutbacks were happening.
It got so serious that now, less than a week before they play their arch-rivals the US in a World Cup warm-up event, the team decided to go on strike.
“If Canada Soccer is not willing or able to support our team, new leadership should be found,” the players wrote in an open letter. “We are committed to do whatever it takes to create public awareness of this crisis and to force Canada Soccer to start to support the national teams properly.”
Canada Soccer announced it was cutting training camp days, full camp windows, and had reduced the number of players and staff invited to the camps as well as reducing funding for national youth teams, too.
The team was also informed that Canada wouldn’t have a game in Canada before the FIFA Women’s World Cup this June in Australia and New Zealand, with sources informing Northern Tribune that two home matches were initially set to play in British Columbia.
“Canada’s national teams have never been more successful, or attracting more corporate dollars,” they wrote. “Yet despite these steps forward, we are still stuck asking the same question…where is the funding?”
The team mentioned how the men’s side was given the appropriate amount of resources last year before and leading up to the World Cup in Qatar.
“In 2022, significant dollars and resources were poured into our men’s national team to ensure there were no gaps in their preparation for the 2022 Men’s World Cup,” the women’s team players wrote. “Now that our World Cup is approaching, the women’s national team players are being told to prepare to perform at a world-class level without that same support – to simply make do with less. This is an unacceptable burden to put on the shoulders of our players, especially in the most crucial cycle for our team. We are left feeling frustrated and, once again, deeply disrespected by Canada Soccer.”
The men’s national team also released a statement backing the demands made.
Canada Soccer signed a nine-year deal with CSB or Canada Soccer Business meaning that it gave up media and sponsorship rights to both national teams in exchange for guaranteed money worth between 3-4 million dollars per year.
Two players have mentioned this week that Canada Soccer has still not provided the players with copies of the contract signed with CSB or any details of the national team budget.