The number of qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar is at a standstill. And at the same time, pressure is building on Canadian soccer to seal a compensation deal with the men’s national team.
There is a lot on the negotiating table, given the attention and high stakes that come with creating the showpiece of men’s football for the first time in 36 years – followed by a home World Cup in 2026.
But some of the talks may go beyond the start of the tournament in early November, says Toronto FC midfielder Mark Anthony Kaye, part of the men’s national team leadership group.
“The CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) is a big thing. There are parts that I’m sure will be done before the World Cup starts,” Cai said in an interview. “Important things like compensation for the World Cup, package for family and friends (to attend the tournament). Such things are a matter of time, you have to do them before (the tournament) starts.
“And then the other items that are in the CBA, I think we can move in the right direction to find solid ground for an agreement on those things.”
The Canadians, currently ranked 43rd in the world by FIFA, play against No. 2 Belgium in the World Cup on Nov. 23.
The standoff over compensation came into sharp focus in early June when the men boycotted a planned friendly with Panama in Vancouver.
The men have since formed a players’ union to help their cause.
“It took a while to get to this moment. But we knew we needed it because it gave the players a little more protection in terms of every aspect.” Kai explained. “Especially when it comes to communicating with Canadian Soccer.
“But when it comes to our licensing rights, our team rights and just creating an environment where the players are completely safe on and off the field. The landscape of everything that’s going on.
“It’s definitely a positive step. We have our own legal counsel. It definitely makes the process a little easier now.”
Fellow Toronto midfielder Jonathan Osorio also believes the union will allow negotiations to progress “in a more effective way.”
“I think we’re optimistic that a deal will be done,” he said. “Meanwhile, us players, we are more focused than anything else, playing the World Cup. Now we have our legal representation to worry about everything else.”
This counsel is the law firm of Aird & Berlis.
Canada Soccer presented a new proposal to players in late June, with players in the process of preparing an official response.
“One thing that is very important for male and female players is that they have joined the women’s national team because they are looking for fair compensation not only for themselves but also for women.” “And obviously women have been looking for it themselves for a long time,” Burles said.
Canadian Soccer agreed to “voluntarily recognize” the men’s players’ union, allowing it to act as the team’s bargaining agent.
The union “functions very much as a union” in the sense that it allows a bargaining agent for the players to negotiate for the players, said Perigodova, a former member of Canada’s taekwondo team at the Tokyo Olympics. Served as an ombudsman for Team Canada. 2021.
“The Players Association operates under the Ontario Labor Act or the Ontario Labor Relations Act,” she added.
And because the Canadian Soccer Association recognizes it, players don’t need to go to the labor board to be certified.
In 2016, Canada Soccer also recognized the Canadian Soccer Players Association (CSPA) as the exclusive bargaining agent for the women’s team. It has its own legal counsel.
Kay admits the environment created by Canadian Soccer for men is “not bad.”
“There are things that need to stay and things that need to improve, especially for women. But there aren’t many things that really need to change. That’s why I’m confident that the CBA can be agreed upon.” But I think we all know the importance of getting the World Cup stuff.”
One thing that needs to be done is to improve the travel arrangements for the women’s team, which is not as good as the men’s.
“It wasn’t fair or good,” Kaye said of the women’s tour.
“We want to fight to raise your standards, but in doing so we don’t want to lower our standards,” Kay said the men told the women in Vancouver in June.
“It’s not like Canadian soccer is taking away from men to coach women. Canadian soccer needs to find ways to bring women into the shoes of men.”
The men’s squad consists of 51 players who have been invited to Canada’s national team camp since January 2021. Key says there are five player representatives and one junior player representative. And the team still has a “core leadership group” of 12-14 players.
“It feels very professional and I’m sure the boys feel good about it,” Kaye said. “It makes us feel like we’re going to be taken seriously.”
In the context of the World Cup, players are talking about taking a cut of FIFA’s World Cup prize money, expected to be at least $10 million for Canada, as well as to help friends and family in Qatar. A package. But revenue from sponsorship and image rights is also a key part of the negotiations, especially with Canada co-hosting the 2026 tournament with the United States and Mexico.
As players seek more information on the 2018 deal Canada Soccer signed with the new Canadian Soccer business, the “commercial assets and inventory for marquee soccer properties in Canada” were transferred to the CSB.
The 2018 announcement notes the CSB deal that the new group represents, among other things, “on behalf of Canadian Soccer, all corporate partnerships and broadcast rights for the women’s and men’s national team programs.”
Kaye says that while he doesn’t yet know the full terms of the deal, “I believe Canadian Soccer definitely gave up the rights to our team image without our approval.”
“So that’s not right,” he added.
“That’s the world we live in now. We’re the product,” Osorio added.
“All these things are happening now for the national team because the team is a winner. And the team is a winner because of the players and the staff within the team. So yes, these are the things, we want to be compensated fairly… Take this sport forward in this country.”
The CSB deal was billed as a 10-year deal when it was first announced in March 2018.
“I know Canadian soccer’s hands are kind of tied. And it’s up to them to figure out how to move forward,” Kaye said. “It’s not up to the players to open the door and stop things like that. Canadian soccer needs to understand where we are now and if we want to move forward, they need to take some big steps to find a cure for the situation. “
Asked if the CSB deal could be reopened to facilitate an agreement, Soccer Canada general secretary Earl Cochran said he “really can’t comment on that.”
“We will wait to see what the outcome of the negotiations is,” he added.
The CSB deal helped launch the Canadian Premier League, ensuring the country had its own domestic league. But there’s also a sense in some quarters that Canadian soccer has given up the future to save the present — and in doing so, has shown little faith in how far the men’s team can go.
Perigodova, of Aird & Burles’ litigation and dispute resolution, workplace law, and sports, media and entertainment groups, says that while the debate has so far been about CSB’s name, image and likeness ( NIL) did not “deeply focus” on the issues. The deal said, “Players have certainly raised these questions and wanted information on how NIL-related issues could be affected by this arrangement.”
She said there was previously no collective agreement with the men “to govern all the terms and conditions of their participation in the national team.”
Cochrane has insisted that the FIFA prize money is completely separate from the CSB deal. As such, Kaye says the player is entitled to their split request because it’s “newfound money.”
At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, FIFA provided a total of US$791 million to the 32 participating teams, a 40 percent increase over the 2014 tournament.
Of this, 400 million US dollars were given as prizes, ranging from 38 million US dollars to 38 million US dollars to the winner, 28 million US dollars to the second place and 24 million US dollars to the third place team to 8 Millions of US dollars are involved, each of which was destroyed. In the group stage.
Each qualifying team also received US$1.5 million to cover preparation costs, meaning all teams were guaranteed a minimum of US$9.5 million for their participation.
Perigodova says the issue of World Cup prize money is “one of many issues.”
“And there are some issues that feel even more important because the World Cup is coming to North America (in 2026),” she said.
In February 2019, the Canadian soccer business signed a $200 million, 10-year deal with Spain-based Mediapro. The agreement gave Mediapro the rights to the CPL, the Canadian Championship and all domestic games of the Canadian men’s and women’s teams.
It also includes rights to League 1 Ontario matches, a feeder league under the CPL umbrella.
CPL and Canadian Soccer business officials said at the time that the partnership would help grow soccer in Canada.
Mediapro produces all Canadian national team games that fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadian soccer business.
Canada coach John Herdman, understandably, wants the compensation issue resolved as soon as possible.
“There’s not a minute to waste now,” said Herdman, who says he’s not directly involved in player negotiations. “There isn’t a significant part we can give, other than our team working in a way that has an impact on the World Cup.”