Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team

Canada Soccer today released key elements of the proposed landmark collective bargaining agreements (CBA) first proposed to Canada Soccer’s National Teams on 3 June of last year. The proposed agreements in front of National Team Players demonstrates Canada Soccer’s commitment to its core principle that if you are a Canada Soccer National Team Player — regardless of your gender — you will be paid the same for the work you do competing and representing our country.

The national sporting body also released details of its progress and commitments already made privately and throughout the ongoing labour negotiations that make strides toward equal pay and equity in the high performance environments of its national programs.

Here is the reality: If accepted by the Player Associations, the collective bargaining agreements will pay both National Teams the same amount for playing a 90-minute match and both National Teams will share equally in competition prize money. Additionally, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team will become the second-highest paid women’s national team among FIFA’s 211 Member Associations.

Update on CBA Negotiations/Equal Pay
A new overarching collective bargaining agreement with both National Teams is still being negotiated and requires all three sides (Women’s National Team, Men’s National Team and Canada Soccer) to come together to get the deals over the line. Canada Soccer has been adamant that, to ensure pay equity between the National Teams, a deal needs to include the pooling together of both the women’s and the men’s FIFA World Cup prize money and then sharing the total amount equally by all National Team Players.

“It is time to get a deal done,” said Earl Cochrane, General Secretary, Canada Soccer. “We’ve been negotiating in good faith and want to get to a resolution with our National Teams. In order to get there, we need both of our National Teams to agree. Our women deserve to be paid equally and they deserve the financial certainty going into the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

That proposed CBA includes, but is not limited to the following elements:

  • Equal pay (appearance fees and win bonuses) for both National Teams.
    • $3,500 per match per player, plus win bonuses up to $5,500 per player depending on the rank of the opposing side.
  • An equal amount ($1.15 million) to each National Team for their qualification to their respective FIFA World Cup.
  • The pooling and sharing of competition prize money to provide equitable pay in an unequal world.
    • Canada Soccer has proposed to put 40% of the Men’s FIFA World Cup prize funds (approximately $3.6M USD for finishing #17-32 at Qatar 2022) into the Prize Pool and as much as 75% of the FIFA Women’s World Cup prize funds (estimated to be $1-4M USD) depending on where the Women’s National Team places in this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia & New Zealand.  To demonstrate how “pool and share” works, if a total of $7.6M USD is placed into the pool, then $3.8M would be distributed to each National Team.

Given the extended bargaining between Canada Soccer and the Women’s National Team Players Association, payment by Canada Soccer for work done by the Women’s National Team in 2022 was late. Therefore, Canada Soccer and the Women’s National Team announced an interim funding agreement with the Women’s National Team Players last week.

Interim Funding Agreement with the Women’s National Team
The terms of the Interim Funding Agreement agreed to last week by the Women’s National Team in their run up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup mirrors a similar deal with the Men’s National Team that includes per game incentives and results-based compensation.

This deal means that the Women’s National Team Players will still be paid for successes in 2022 on the same financial terms as the Men’s National Team.

This agreement is also consistent with Canada Soccer’s historic practices:

  • From 2012-2019 total staffing and program spending on all Men’s Teams was $37,423,185 compared to $37,073,407 on all Women’s Teams over the same eight-year period.
  • From 2012-2019 total player compensation from Canada Soccer for the Men’s Senior Team (MNT) was $2.92 million. For the same eight-year period player compensation from Canada Soccer for the Women’s Senior Team (WNT) was $2.96 million.
  • If the Player Associations accept the compensation proposals in front of them, then, depending on their success, from 2020-2023, total player compensation for the Men’s Senior Team could reach $10.29 million, while the Women’s Senior Team over the same period could reach as much as $9.64 million. These amounts encompass all prize money and match fees / bonuses that are included in the proposed agreements.

Equity in the High Performance Environments
In addition to the Interim Funding Agreement, the Women’s National Team made nine demands to Canada Soccer the evening of 9 February 2023 in preparations for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup. Canada Soccer has agreed to in writing, and/or is currently addressing, all nine of the demands made by the Women’s National Team, including:

1: Comparable budget for 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup preparations as Men’s National Team budget for 2022 FIFA World Cup preparations. Not including compensation.

2: A detailed breakdown of the Men’s National Team budget from 2022 and an agreement to share future budgets between the Men’s National Team and Women’s National Team
a.   Breakdown of Men’s National Team compensation through 2022

3: A detailed outline of the compensation structure proposal
a. Commitment to sign before the April FIFA Window a compensation agreement with the Women’s National Team that will cover the period from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2023.
b. Agreement will be an interim agreement subject to adjustment when a final collective agreement is entered into.
c. Agreement will include compensation for friends and family travel, on the terms already agreed to

4: Flights home [for players in North America at the SheBelieves Cup] and future camps through December 31, 2023 to be booked in business class
a. Reimbursement for those who upgraded their flights for the SheBelieves Cup

5: Charter Flight for Jamaica qualifier

6: Single occupancy rooms for any future 2023 camps

7: Chef at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

8: Written guarantee of these things – signed by Canada Soccer representatives with authority to bind the Association

9: At least one home game to be scheduled in advance of the World Cup

Even though our national teams have different competitive structures and circumstances, Canada Soccer has re-committed privately and is publicly reiterating today that it will continue to deliver the resources and opportunities needed to compete and succeed at international competitions. This includes, but is not limited to: preparatory matches against top-tier opponents; adequate staffing; minimum number of players; adherence to an agreed-to travel policy; equitable training venues and accommodations.

This does not mean equal dollars – simply because the cost of doing very different things may require different total budgets. The competitive calendar and FIFA World Cup qualification pathway for the Men’s National Team compared to the Women’s National Team has very different costs associated with it. (For example: Canada’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams must compete in predetermined FIFA international windows and the men are required to play in Concacaf Nations League where they’re required to be in two or three different countries in the region with significant travel constraints and by comparison, the recently completed SheBelieves Cup, organized by the US Soccer Federation, was played entirely within the southern United States against Canada’s strongest competition.)

Canada Soccer also recognizes that delivering on the above commitments will require an influx of additional revenue and we are already building plans toward that, which includes:

  • The creation of a new department within Canada Soccer that will be charged to oversee the foundational and philanthropic efforts for the association; and,
  • The hiring of a new Canada Soccer Chief Commercial Officer.

Amending the CSB agreement
Canadian Soccer Business is voluntarily and proactively in discussion with Canada Soccer to amend its Representation Agreement, with the goal of providing incremental funding to the Association to support its important mission of growing the game at all levels.

The Path Forward
Canada has always been a leader on the world stage. The Women’s National Team’s Gold Medal success at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games showed the world what Canada can do when it commits to success. Now is the time for Canada to once again show the world what it can accomplish – this time with respect to gender equality and labour relations.

“Canada Soccer looks forward to concluding agreements with our National Team Players that will demonstrate equity, respect and progress to the world. The deal in front of our players today is unprecedented in Canadian sport and will make us a leader among FIFA Member Associations. We have appreciated the conversations with the two Players’ Associations and we believe serious progress has been made. With fresh leadership, now is the time to conclude those discussions and finalize a deal. Together, we can get this done.” added Earl Cochrane.