Canadian women’s soccer players ‘outraged and deeply concerned’ over funding cuts

The Canadian women’s soccer team has slammed Canada Soccer, saying it is “outraged and deeply concerned with the news of significant cuts” to national team programs in 2023 as it prepares for the World Cup.

“With the biggest tournament in women’s football history less than six months away, our preparation for the World Cup and the future success of the women’s national team’s program are being compromised by Canada Soccer’s continued inability to supports its national teams,” the women said in a statement posted on social media.

“Despite our strong track record of success and history-making achievements for more than a decade, we continue to be told there is not enough money to adequately fund our program and our youth teams.”

The sixth-ranked women say they are being told “to perform at a world-class level without the same level of support that was received by the men’s national team in 2022, and with significant cuts to our program — to simply make do with less.”

The women say the number of players and staff coming to camp has been cut, as have training camp days.

“We have been told, quite literally, that Canada Soccer cannot adequately fund the women’s national team, and they have waited to tell us this until now, when we are less than six months from the World Cup.”

Canada Soccer did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

“Enough is enough,” Canada captain Christine Sinclair wrote in social media post.

The women’s statement, posted by the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association (CSPA) which represents the women’s team, came with the headline: “The time is now, we are taking job action.”

The statement did not specify the job action but called for “new leadership” if the governing body is “not willing or able” to support the team.

“We are committed to do whatever it takes to create public awareness of this crisis and to force Canada Soccer to start to support the national teams properly.”

The Canadian women are scheduled to open play Feb. 16 at the SheBelieves Cup against the top-ranked U.S. in Orlando. The four-team tournament is part of Canada’s preparation for the World Cup, which kicks off July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

The Canadian men and women’s teams are currently embroiled in labour talks with Canada Soccer. The Canadian men refused to play a planned friendly in Vancouver last summer because of their unhappiness at the state of the negotiations, which included division of prize money from the men’s World Cup in Qatar.

Canada Soccer has said that there will be pay equity in the new deals struck with the men and women.

“We are tired — tired of constantly having to fight for fair and equal treatment, and for a program that will give us a chance to achieve what we know this team is capable of achieving for Canada,” the women said in their statement.

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