Less than a week before they are scheduled to play in the SheBelieves Cup in the United States, the Canada women’s national soccer team announced that they are on strike.
The team’s strike comes after budget cuts, pay equity issues and a lack of support from Canada’s soccer federation. The women’s team has claimed the same budget that the men’s team received last year to prepare for the World Cup in Qatar. The Women’s World Cup takes place in New Zealand this summer.
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«With less than six months to go until the biggest tournament in women’s soccer history, our preparation for the World Cup and the future success of the Women’s National Team program is jeopardized by Canada Soccer’s continued inability to support its national teams. the players wrote in a statement via the Canadian Soccer Players Association. «Despite our strong track record of success and historic achievements for over a decade, we keep being told there isn’t enough money to adequately fund our youth program and team.
«With the recent success of the Men’s National Team, soccer in Canada has never been more popular. Canada’s national teams have never been more successful or attracted more corporate dollars. Yet despite these advances, we are still getting same question… where is the funding?»
The players called the budget cuts a «burden» that has left them «frustrated» and «deeply disrespected by Canada Soccer.» They added that they have cut training programs and staff and have had to «just make do with less.»
«It hurts, I’m not going to lie», Christine Sinclair told TSN. «We all represent this country with pride. We’ve shared some of the best moments together. But not feeling like the support of your own federation has been difficult in the past. But it’s gotten to a point where, at least for me personally Until this is resolved I cannot represent this federation, I am such a competitor that it breaks my heart and kills me…
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«As a team, we have decided to take labor action and as of this time, we will not be participating in any Canadian Soccer Association activities until this is resolved.»
The men’s team, in a own statementsaid they are «deeply disappointed by Canada Soccer’s actions, and wholeheartedly support the statement by the players of the Women’s National Team made this afternoon about the completely unsatisfactory preparation conditions for this summer’s World Cup.»
Canada Soccer issued a response statement, saying they have a «proven track record of supporting women’s soccer» but «there is more to do.»
“Pay equity for our women’s national team is at the core of our ongoing player negotiations. Canada Soccer will not accept a deal without her,» the federation said. «That is why, after months of negotiations with our women’s national team players and their legal counsel, Canada Soccer has now issued a mutually agreed back payment.»
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They also added that they had «submitted an equity-based proposal to our national teams and their lawyers several months ago, and we are still awaiting a definitive response to the terms of that proposal.»
The Canadians won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.