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Canada women’s players: ‘Deeper issues’ remain despite interim deal

Players from the Canada and U.S. women's national teams joined in protest before their SheBelieves Cup match Thursday in Orlando, Florida. (James Williamson/Getty Images)

The fight is far from over for Canada Soccer. 

Despite recently announcing an interim funding agreement with Canada Soccer, which will cover the period of time in 2022 for which team members have not been paid, the CANWNT has said there remains “a lot of work to be done” to achieve a permanent deal.

The two sides have been in negotiation since January 2022. 

In a two-page statement on Friday, the Canadian soccer players’ association wrote that the interim deal announced on Thursday by Canada Soccer is “not a final deal.”

“It also does not solve the deeper issues around pay equity and equalization of supports and resources across the national teams that caused the players to take labor action in connection with the SheBelieves Cup,” they wrote. 

On Thursday, Canada Soccer announced a deal with the team, which they say is similar to that of the men’s team for appearance fees and results-based bonuses. 

“This is about respect, this is about dignity, and this is about equalizing the competitive environment in a world that is fundamentally unequal,” said Earl Cochrane, Canada Soccer’s General Secretary. “We have been consistent and public about the need to have fairness and equal pay be pillars of any new agreements with our players, and we are delivering on that today. 

“While this is an important step forward, and it signals progress, there is still more work to do to ensure both of our national programs are given the necessary resources and supports to prepare and compete.”

The deal came after president Nick Bontis resigned earlier this week and reports surfaced that detailed how a private donor had to step in and pay for the CANWNT’s friendlies against Brazil. 

According to the players’ association, a permanent deal has not been reached due to a multitude of factors: repeated failure by Canada Soccer to properly disclose financial numbers, the Canada Soccer Business deal, which they say pulls money away from the national teams, and the CANWNT’s fight for an agreement that “establishes fair and equitable standards.”

Provided that “meaningful progress” has been made in negotiations, players say that they will take part in the April FIFA window.