Canada canceled a friendly international with Panama just hours before Sunday’s kick-off after its players went on strike over a proposed new labor agreement.
In a brief statement on Twitter, Canada Soccer confirmed that the World Cup warm-up match in Vancouver has been canceled.
No reason was given, but a statement released by the men’s national team said the move came after players rejected a contract offer presented to the squad last Thursday.
The statement said talks had been under way since March between Canada Soccer and the national team, which qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 36 years this year.
The squad said Canada Soccer had held talks “unnecessarily long” before making an unsatisfactory initial offer on Thursday.
The players’ statement said, “Canada Soccer waited until the evening of June 2 to present an ancient offer, and for the first time, the general secretary and president of the association made themselves available for the first time on June 4 at 4 pm to connect with the players.” .
“For these reasons, we reluctantly decided not to play our match against Panama today.
“It’s time to dump her and move on.”
The players also criticized an agreement signed in 2018 between Canada Soccer and commercial partner Canadian Soccer Business, demanding disclosure of the terms of the agreement.
The statement called for “a fair structure with our women’s national team” which calls for the same player’s match fees, percentage of prize money at the FIFA World Cup and the development of a women’s domestic league.
The statement ended with an apology to the fans for the sudden cancellation.
“We want to apologize to our fans. We have everything at home to support you, “the statement said.
The statement said players hoped the dispute could be resolved by the time scheduled for Thursday’s game in Curacao, Canada in the CONCACAF Nations League.
Canadian soccer president Nick Buntis later hit back at the decision to withdraw players from Sunday’s friendly, insisting the players’ offer was fair and called for “information-based” negotiations on a new labor agreement.
“Canada Soccer is very disappointed with the decision to deny the men national team players a chance to play today,” Bontis said.
“Canada Soccer is committed to the principles of fairness and equity and we believe we have made a fair offer to the players.”
The controversy is the latest turmoil in Canadian football in recent weeks.
Panama was drafted as a last-minute opponent for Sunday’s friendship after a preliminary match with fellow World Cup qualifier Iran was canceled following a backlash against the match, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called it a “bad idea”.
The fixtures were also criticized by the families of the passengers killed when Iranian armed forces shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet after taking off from Tehran in January 2020.
Of the 176 people killed in the incident, 85 were Canadian citizens and permanent residents, which the Iranian armed forces later described as wrong.
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