A Union For CPL Players Has Arrived
When the Canadian Premier League launched last year, one of the first questions was if and when a union would arise to represent players in the fledgling league.
In the midst of a playing suspension that has led to player salary deferrals of 25%, this long-in-progress union has finally shown its face in the form of PFACan: backed by Pacific FC captain Marcel de Jong, executive director Dan Kruk, and the legal counsel of Ottawa-based employment lawyer Paul Champ, PFACan has now taken its first steps of full-scale public awareness.
The union’s end goal is to secure itself as the players’ bargaining agent, at which point PFACan could then establish a bargaining agreement with the Canadian Premier League in a similar manner to how the MLSPA negotiates collective agreements with Major League Soccer, wherein MLS players eventually earned higher minimum salaries, more control in their transfer freedom, and better travel conditions.
There are already several Canadian Premier League players on part of the board: the union lists CPL Golden Glove winner Marco Carducci and York9 FC’s Kyle Porter as Vice Presidents, with the likes of Tomi Amoeibi, Dylan Carreiro, Jamar Dixon, Ben Fisk, Omar Kreim, David Monsalve, and Roger Thompson all listed as members, meaning there are representatives from every CPL side.
Unattached veteran Issey Nakajima-Farran is also included on the list, having been part of founding players who began discussions shortly after the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Having now been officially incorporated in 2020 and having had its first board of directors meeting in late February, PFACan has now established its bylaws and elected officials. The union says it has been conducting extensive player outreach campaigns to inspire CPL players – along with other elite male and female players in Canada – to join the union.
The union’s legal arm, through Champ & Associates, is also providing some pro bono legal aid to CPL players undergoing contract disputes in the meantime.
The union has received an official letter of support from FIFPro, the global player’s union that represents over 65,000 players worldwide. It also says it has begun developing a relationship with the MLSPA, USLPA, and AMFPro unions as well, in order to raise the collective knowledge of all unions.
PFACan also states one of its main objectives is equitable funding to support the development and growth of the women’s game in Canada, which falls in line with the Canadian Premier League’s goal of eventually launching a professional Women’s League.
The union is also looking to prepare Canadian athletes for life after their time on the pitch, establishing a Business and Opportunities committee to prepare players for career paths after they hang up their boots. To date, the union has reached out to business leaders and trade associations to establish pathways to paid internships and apprenticeships for union members.
The Canadian Premier League declined to comment on the formation of the union. While the league has recognized that tough times are ahead due to the pandemic, CPL Commissioner David Clanachan recently reassured fans that the league would still be on its feet after the pandemic, and that expansion talks have continued despite the suspension of league play.