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Canada Women Agree Interim Funding Deal in Equal Pay Dispute

Canada Soccer has reached an interim funding agreement with its women’s national team players amid a dispute over equal pay.

The deal reflects the men’s team’s terms with game-by-game incentives and results-based compensation.

The women’s team had threatened to boycott a camp in April if demands over funding and pay inequality are not met.

A final collective bargaining deal with both the men’s and women’s sides remains under negotiation.

“Canada Soccer has announced that a deal in principle has been reached with the Women’s National Team Players on an interim funding agreement for 2022,” the Canada Soccer Association (CSA) said in a statement on Thursday.

The women’s team’s last agreement with CSA expired in 2021.

In February, Canada’s women called off a planned strike because of the governing body’s threats of legal action, but they protested during the recent SheBelieves Cup by wearing purple T-shirts with the phrase “enough is enough” before their matches.

“This is about respect, this is about dignity, and this is about equalising the competitive environment in a world that is fundamentally unequal,” Canada Soccer’s general secretary Earl Cochrane said.

“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.”

Earlier this week, Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis announced his resignation, a decision welcomed by the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association (CSPA) and Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team Players’ Association (CMNSTPA) as “one necessary step” in ensuring the future success of the national teams.

In a joint statement, the CSPA and CMNSTPA asked Canada Soccer for “transparent and comprehensive access” to financial records in light of recent funding cuts.

They also want immediate action from the governing body to address the unauthorised use of player images, as well as financial restraints imposed by CSA’s agreement with Canada Business Soccer.

Canada’s men went on strike in June 2022 after accusing CSA of “disrespect” over World Cup prize money and have said they “wholeheartedly support” the women’s side.

The CSA spent $11m (£6.72m) on the men’s programme in 2021 and $5.1m (£3.11m) on the women’s programme.

The women’s players said the “disgusting” discrepancy between the programmes became apparent at last year’s men’s World Cup.

They are looking for the same backing for this year’s Women’s World Cup as the men received before Qatar, where they competed in the tournament for the first time in 37 years.

Canada’s women, who are sixth in the world rankings and won Olympic gold in 2021, are in Group B for the World Cup, which takes place from 20 July to 20 August in Australia and New Zealand.

Source: bbc