Canada’s women’s national team was shocked by the federation’s CBA announcement

Members of Canada’s women’s national soccer team said they were surprised and disrespected after their governing body released details of a proposed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on Thursday, after details of individual negotiations were made public without warning.

The Olympic champions launched a protest last month against salary and budget cuts, which the governing body said cut training camp days, full camp windows and the number of players and staff invited to camps, among other issues.

The parties agreed to an interim funding deal last week, but just hours before the players are scheduled to appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Thursday, Soccer Canada announced its proposal to pay both men and women. The same amount for playing a 90-minute match and the same distribution of competition prize money.

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He said the talks are related to pooling FIFA World Cup prize money and require cooperation between the men’s team, the women’s team and Soccer Canada.

“We have been in good faith negotiations and would like to reach a resolution with our national teams,” said Earl Cochrane, the general secretary of Soccer Canada. “To get there, we need the consent of both national teams. Our women deserve equal pay and they deserve the financial security to go to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

The governing body also said last month that demands made by the women’s national team, less than 140 days before the World Cup, had been agreed to or were being met.

This included providing the women’s team with a “comparable” budget for their World Cup preparations to what they received for the men’s tournament last year, and an agreement to split future budgets between the men’s and women’s teams.

Speaking to members of the Canadian Parliament on Thursday, national team member Janine Beckie said: “We feel disrespected by the way they’ve gone about their business this afternoon.

“We believe that honest negotiations between myself and the players’ community have been addressed [Canada Soccer] should have remained between the players’ association and the Canadian Soccer Association.

“Their statement today contained terms, numbers and parts that were not even communicated to us. So it was a bit of a shock to us.”

Soccer Canada responded the day after the women’s player session in the House of Commons, with a spokesperson saying in a statement: “Canadians deserve to know that Soccer Canada wants and is committed to delivering gender equality to our players.

“Our priority in this process was to negotiate privately through our own legal counsel and find the most responsible way to resolve it. We’ve been doing this for months.”

“Unfortunately, in recent weeks, information has been shared and disseminated by the media without providing the full and important context,” the statement said without further comment.

The last few years have been promising for Canadian soccer, and while the women left Tokyo in 2021 with Olympic gold, their male counterparts last year made their first World Cup final appearance in 36 years.

But the players’ comments on Thursday revealed serious differences with their governing body, as Christine Sinclair said she and her compatriots were “having to negotiate in the dark”.

“The success of the national teams inspires the whole country and the future should be brighter than ever,” said Sinclair.

“However, with the popularity, interest and growth of the women’s game sweeping the world, our toughest battle has been with our federation.”

The Olympic champions played last month’s SheBelieves Cup under fire after facing the threat of legal action over pay issues and plans to strike over the budget.

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