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Canadian Premier League Union

PFA Canada Estimates CPL Player Salaries Were Around 500K Per Club In 2019

By on February 11, 2021 0 3055 Views

With the early retirement of Dylan Carreiro spurring a conversation about player salaries in Canada’s top flight domestic league, the PFA Canada players’ union has now chimed in on the conversation with a fiscal estimate that’s hard to swallow.

This evening, PFA Canada – which hopes to collectively represent all CPL athletes – stated that Canadian Premier League clubs averaged around $500,000 in terms of player salary expenditures in 2019, which would fall well under the assumed $750,000 ballpark range of the league’s as-yet-undisclosed salary cap.

PFA Canada has previously gone on the record to state that the majority of Canadian Premier League athletes make under $22,000 per year, which could be a large indicator of why athletes like Luca Gasparotto went from hoping to catch John Herdman’s eye last year to retiring early in order to pursue careers outside of football.

Gasparotto and Carreiro aren’t the only domestic players to step down as professional athletes over the last year, with the likes of Colm Vance, Jason Beaulieu, and Dean Northover all announcing early retirements, too.

York9 FC Luca Gasparotto
Luca Gasparotto played in every single possible minute for York9 FC (now York United), but left the game behind at 25 after a breakdown in contract negotiations.

A range of salaries posted by prominent soccer personality Duane Rollins has sparked some public support from former CPLers, with Marcus Haber stating that the post touched on the obvious reality of a major issue in the CPL, and Gasparotto pointing out that Duane’s salary range estimates were before the 25% pay cut from the league was taken into consideration.

This pay cut was originally announced as a deferral, with the remainder to be delivered at a later date. The league later changed this to a full salary cut. After The Island Games, some members of the league office like Eva Havaris and Michael Findlay were quietly let go.

The union’s statement of clubs averaging a revenue of $2,000,000 in 2019, if true, represents a previously undisclosed average. A financial statement from Valour FC showed that the club had a revenue of $2,815,374 in 2019, with a total operating loss of $210,765 for its inaugural season.

The league has officially refrained from sharing any player salary information to date, with CPL Commissioner David Clanachan last touching on the idea of entering into official discussions with PFA Canada in August 2020:

I don’t have an opinion at this point in time, one way or the other. We’ll deal with that, we’ll get through this year that no one saw coming, and then we’ll move on from there and we’ll do the right thing.

David Clanachan

With the calendar now flipped to 2021, the league has remained quiet on any potential discussions with union representation or player salaries in general.

Back in August, Clanachan had also stated that the pandemic made face-to-face conversations difficult, but if the MLS and MLSPA could renegotiate a CBA this month, it’s hard to accept that a lack of face-to-face conversing could be a rational reason for delay.

PFA Canada states that many athletes have salaries that actually drop below $15,000, which is obviously not sustainable for older domestic athletes as compared to younger athletes taking their first shot at the professional level.

Recently, Cavalry FC Captain Nik Ledgerwood told us that the league was still in a growth stage, but that he hoped union representation would help the salary cap reach greater heights in the near future.

One sentiment we’ve heard from the player’s side is that it was difficult to bite the proverbial hand that feeds: while many feel the league can and should be doing better to ensure players have sustainable long-term careers, they remain wary about where they would be if the league were to fold – something Clanachan has stated would not happen as a result of the financially devastating pandemic.

While whatever happens remains to be seen, PFA Canada chiming in with some previously unknown financial estimates is certainly food for thought.

The Canadian Premier League has not commented on the situation.

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