The Canadian women’s national football team has announced it reached an interim pay agreement with the sport’s governing body in Canada, but the players say there is still a long way to go to address longstanding issues of inequity.
In a statement on Friday, the players said they had reached a deal with Canada Soccer “to provide compensation for our team for 2023, including prize money allocation from the FIFA Women’s World Cup”.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
“We are deeply disappointed to find ourselves without a more complete agreement at this crucial stage in our calendar,” they said in the statement, which was shared on social media by the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association.
The players said the interim agreement “ensures, at minimum, equal pay” with the Canadian men’s national team.
“This isn’t over,” they added. “We and the Men’s National Team remain committed to finding a long-term solution that provides for fair and equal treatment for our current National Teams and investments in the future of Canadian soccer, but for now, our team just wants to focus on soccer.”
A statement from the players of the Canadian Women’s National team. pic.twitter.com/iVuoJhncKg
— CanadianSoccerPlayers (@PlayersCanadian) July 28, 2023
The Canadian men’s team said on Tuesday that they remained unpaid from their own World Cup in 2022, adding that the governing body is now attempting to capitalise on the pressure of the women’s tournament to force them into an inadequate deal.
The women’s team is coming off a gold-medal victory in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics and is now pushing to make the knockout round at the FIFA Women’s World Cup under way in Australia and New Zealand.
For months, the team, which has been without a collective agreement since 2021, has publicly called for pay equity and greater support from Canada Soccer, including more funding for training, staffing and other resources.
“Now is a turning point,” Carrie Serwetnyk, a former Canadian national team player and the first woman inducted into the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, told Al Jazeera in April about the players’ public battle.
In Friday’s statement, the players said they “have been forced to choose between compensation and the funding required to hold necessary training camps”.
“We have been forced to choose between receiving a fair share of the rewards from our teams’ successes at the World Cups and our commitment to equal pay and equal treatment with our Men’s National Team. These are choices we should not have had to make.”
Canada Soccer told Al Jazeera that the interim compensation agreement was reached on Monday and marked “another important step forward for equalizing the standard of care and pay equity for our players”.
“We have been working collaboratively to find sustainable resolutions, and while there is more work to do, this deal ensures equal pay between both of our two national teams,” the governing body said in an emailed statement on Friday.
They will face third-placed co-hosts Australia in their last group stage clash on Monday in their bid to progress to the knockout stage.