Canada’s women’s national soccer team has announced a strike less than a week before its scheduled start at the SheBelieves Cup in the United States.
The team’s strike comes after budget cuts, equal pay issues and a lack of support from the Football Canada Association. The women’s team has requested the same budget that the men’s team received last year to prepare for the World Cup in Qatar. The Women’s World Cup will be held in New Zealand this summer.
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“With the greatest tournament in women’s soccer history less than six months away, our preparation for the World Cup and the future success of the women’s national team program will be hampered by Canada Soccer’s continued inability to support its national teams,” the players wrote a statement on the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association. “Despite our strong track record and history-making achievements for more than a decade, we continue to be told that there is not enough money to adequately fund our program and youth team.
“With the recent success of the men’s national team, football in Canada has been more popular than ever. Canada’s national teams have never been more successful or attracted more corporate money. Yet despite this progress, we’re still stuck with the same question… where’s the funding?”
The players called the budget cuts a “burden” that left them “frustrated” and “deeply disrespected by Canada Soccer”. They added that they had cut training programs and staff and “just had to make do with less.”
“It hurts, I’m not going to lie,” Christine Sinclair told TSN. “We all represent this country with pride. We shared some of the greatest moments together. But not feeling the support of your own association has been difficult in the past. But it has gotten to a point where, at least for me personally, I cannot represent this federation until this is resolved. I’m such a competitor that breaks my heart and kills me…
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“As a team we have decided to take work-related measures and will not be participating in Football Canada Association activities from this moment until this is resolved.”
The men’s team, in a own statementsaid they were “deeply disappointed by the actions of Canada Soccer and wholeheartedly support the statements made this afternoon by the women’s national team players about the totally unsatisfactory conditions in preparation for this summer’s World Cup.”
Canada Soccer released a response statement saying they had a “proven track record of supporting women’s soccer” but “there is more work to be done”.
“Equal pay for our women’s national team is at the heart of our ongoing player negotiations. Canada Soccer will not agree to a deal without them,” the federation said. “As a result, after months of negotiations with our women’s internationals and their legal counsel, Canada Soccer has already arranged for an amicable retrospective payment.”
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They also added that they “presented an equity-based proposal to our national teams and their lawyers a few months ago and we are still awaiting a final response on the terms of that proposal”.
The Canadians won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
https://www.foxnews.com/sports/canadian-womens-soccer-team-strike-citing-equal-pay-issues-budget-cuts Canada women’s soccer team is on strike citing equal pay issues and budget cuts