The Canadian men’s national soccer team refuses to enter the field

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Canada Soccer announced the match was called off less than two hours before the scheduled kick-off

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Canada Soccer and the men’s national team appear to be poles apart in a contractual dispute over the awarding of prize money to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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It came to a head when players refused to take to the pitch for an international friendly against Panama at Vancouver’s BC Place on Sunday, forcing Canada Soccer to call off the match less than two hours before kick-off.

“Canada Soccer is very disappointed with the decision of the Men’s National Team not to play today,” Canada Soccer President Dr Nick Bontis said on Sunday. “We would like, firstly, to apologize to all of our soccer fans in Canada and reaffirm our gratitude to you and your continued support, and I’m sorry this match did not take place today.”

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Bontis said Canada Soccer worked in good faith with the players to find a fair and just deal.

The players disagree and, just before the game was canceled, sent a letter to Canadian soccer fans outlining their position, which emphasized a desire for transparency and a review of the agreement with Canada Soccer Business.

The players have also called for a management team that can optimize the success of the men’s and women’s programs and generate more revenue, and demand a fairer structure that shares the same percentage of players’ match fees earned at World Cups. respective teams. .

The men’s team is seeking 40% of the prize money and a full friends and family package for Qatar.

“We are ready to accept a proposal from one side (players) and a proposal that we think is fair; it’s fair with women, i.e. 30% for men in the share of World Cup prize money that we have compared to nations around the world, which we think is fair,” said said Bontis. “I’m a fan of the players and what they’ve achieved for this country; we have transcended sport in this country. I’m a fan of what women have done and how they’ve transcended the sport in this country.

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“Buying my position as President is a liability to the fiduciary and stable health of this organization, not only for the last 120 years that we live, but the next 100 years that we will live. And I cannot accept an offer that would place our organization in an untenable financial situation.

Canada qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup by finishing first in Concacaf’s latest qualifying group ahead of Mexico and the United States. It’s the first time Canada have qualified for the men’s World Cup since their only previous appearance in Mexico in 1986, where they lost all three games and scored zero.

The cancellation of the game against Panama is the latest saga for the men’s national team ahead of the World Cup, which will take place from November 21 to December 18 in Qatar. Canada was drawn into Group F at the 32-team tournament along with Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.

Canada Soccer had originally scheduled a friendly against Iran at BC Place this weekend, ahead of two Concacaf Nations League games against Curacao and Honduras next week.

The game against Iran, which had sold out, however, had to be called off when Canada Soccer received intense backlash for hosting the Iranians in light of the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 shortly after take-off from Tehran en route to Kyiv on January 28. 8, 2020.

According to the Canadian government, 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed when the plane was shot down by two Iranian surface-to-air missiles.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those who criticized Canada Soccer for scheduling the match.

“It was a Soccer Canada choice,” Trudeau said in May. “I think it wasn’t a very good idea to invite the Iranian football team here to Canada, but that’s something the organizers are going to have to explain.”

Not playing Sunday night in Canada heading to the World Cup. With only two more international windows available before the tournament in Qatar, head coach John Herdman won’t have much time to prepare his squad for the tournament.

“I’m sorry the game didn’t happen today, not just for the fans, but I’m sorry for the technical staff and the coaching staff,” Bontis said. “John Herdman, at the start of this window, had 16 training sessions with the national team between today and Qatar.

“That number has risen to 14 today and we cannot afford to miss these opportunities to see our men put on the performance we know they are capable of when they go to Qatar.”

Bontis said the two sides will continue to negotiate face-to-face in Vancouver with the goal of reaching an agreement. Canada are due to host Curaçao on June 9 and travel to Honduras on June 13 for two Concacaf Nations League matches.

“We will do everything in our power to make the game against Curacao and the game against Honduras progress,” Bontis said. “And not only that, but he has the next window after that and the next window after the one leading to Qatar.”

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