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Canada star: Federation fight in World Cup year was ‘soul-crushing’

Canada's Janine Beckie spoke about the frustrations of being at odds with the national federation in the World Cup year. (Erin Chang/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

This year has been a long one for members of the Canadian women’s national team, with the dispute between players and their national federation extending up to (and beyond) the 2023 World Cup.

Speaking on Just Women’s Sports‘ “Snacks” podcast, Janine Beckie – who missed the World Cup with a torn ACL – called the fights “soul crushing.” In February, the team threatened to boycott the SheBelieves Cup over budget cuts, but players were told they didn’t have the legal standing to do so.

“Come January 2023, they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re in this really bad position financially, we’re going to cut budgets to make sure that we can continue to operate over the next couple of years,’” Beckie said. “And it was just like so soul-crushing as a player, and especially as someone who’s been so involved in the conversation, to have had all the conversations that we had and felt like we were making progress, and then your budget is slashed in a World Cup year off the back of being Olympic champions. It was just like, ‘What is going on?’”

It took nearly six months for the team to reach an interim agreement with Canada Soccer over pay, despite captain Christine Sinclair saying that players needed a deal in place before playing in the World Cup. Instead, that deal came days after the World Cup began. And it still was a disappointing deal for players, as it remains incomplete.

On “Snacks,” Beckie reiterated that players are still unhappy with the deal as it stands.

“We don’t have any kind of formal CBA that we are happy with at this point,” she said. “That’s still all to be negotiated. Our full intention is to have a substantial CBA that we are happy with moving forward over the next couple of years, instead of continuing to come back to the table and just negotiate these short-term deals. There’s a lot of it that we can’t control as players, and I think that’s been one of the hardest things.”