Soccer-Canada women’s team threatens to boycott next team camp over equal pay

By Lori Ewing

(Reuters) – Canada’s women’s team is due to play at the SheBelieves Cup this month under protest, but the Olympic champions say their battle is far from over and have vowed future boycotts if their demands for equal pay are not met.

Members of the Canadian team held a virtual chat with the media on Tuesday, two days before the start of the four-man SheBelieves tournament against the world champions and hosts United States, as they intensify their preparations for this year’s World Cup – something the Canadians firmly believe in can win.

“There’s a FIFA window coming up in April where we said we’re not going to this camp if things aren’t just addressed, if things aren’t fixed,” said longtime captain Christine Sinclair.

“So playing this tournament under protest is a short-term solution,” added the forward.

The players said the “disgusting” discrepancy between Canada’s men’s and women’s soccer programs became apparent in Qatar last year, where Canada’s men played in a World Cup for the first time in 37 years in November.

“I think we fought blindly not knowing what our federation was capable of in terms of support and then we all witnessed what our men’s team received last year in preparation for their World Cup.”

Canada striker Janine Beckie, who was in Qatar as part of the Canada TV team, said the discrepancy goes beyond salaries, citing a men’s team twice the size of the women’s.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” Beckie said. “And what we are asking for are fundamental changes in the way the CSA (Canadian Soccer Association) operates to run our national teams at world-class levels.

“It’s been a really tough couple of days and a really tough camp. And it was just very difficult to be here under these circumstances.”


The women suspended training on Friday in protest but returned on Saturday under threat of legal action.

Sinclair said players are still discussing plans for a protest when they take to the field on Thursday, “but I’m sure there will be something.”

The 39-year-old said her teammates felt a wide range of emotions.

“Those of us who are player representatives are exhausted and exhausted,” she said, “but this might be our most important fight we’ve ever had. And as a player in the national team, we absolutely want to win.”

The CSA spent $11 million on the men’s program and $5.1 million on the women’s in 2021.

“We expect nothing less than to be treated equally, and it’s pretty disgusting that we have to ask to be treated equally,” Beckie said.

“It’s a fight that women around the world have to be a part of every day, but honestly we’re really fed up with it.”

The women said they had received words of support from Canadian players and members of the US women’s team who had won a similar pay equity battle.

2011 World Champions Japan and Brazil round out the field for the SheBelieves Cup, held in Orlando, Florida, Nashville, Tennessee and Frisco, Texas.

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Editing by Ken Ferris)


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