Canada Soccer has made a new offer to its players in a bid to resolve their ongoing contract impasse.
Earl Cochrane, Canada Soccer’s general secretary, said a “comprehensive compensation offer” was made Tuesday to both the Canadian men and women. He declined to share details.
Canada Soccer’s previous offer was made in late June. At the time, it said it was looking “to equalize matters related to compensation for the player pool, travel policy, and the configuration of high-performance environments” between the two teams.
The players answered in late August, with Canada Soccer making its offer this week in response.
The Canadian men have formed a players association (the Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team Players Association) as compensation negotiations continue, following the lead of the women’s team, which is represented by the Canadian Soccer Players Association (CSPA).
The association covers players who have been called into any men’s national team camp since January 2021.
The clock is ticking, with the World Cup scheduled to kick off Nov. 20.
Cochrane says the hope is the impasse can be resolved by the tournament start. But both sides have said there are issues that could be resolved post-Qatar.
There are two pressing concerns, however, which needed to be sorted before the tournament starts. One involves help available to players’ friends and families going to Qatar and the other involves the split of prize money.
Cochrane says there has been “significant progress” on both of those fronts.
Qatar marks only Canada’s second trip to the men’s soccer showcase, following the 1986 tournament in Mexico where Canada exited after losses to France, Hungary and the Soviet Union.
And with FIFA paying out millions to competing teams, there is plenty at stake for the current crop of players.
Dissatisfaction over the state of negotiations caused the men to boycott a planned friendly against Panama in June in Vancouver, citing “unnecessarily prolonged” negotiations over a new contract. The players said they wanted a larger piece of World Cup prize money and a ` “comprehensive friends and family package” for the tournament.
They reportedly were asking for an after-tax payment equivalent to 40 per cent of the expected eight-figure World Cup payout.
At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, FIFA provided a total of US$791 million to the 32 participating teams, up 40 per cent compared to the 2014 tournament.
Of that, US$400 million was paid out as prize money, ranging from US$38 million to the winner, US$28 million to the runner-up and US$24 million to the third-place team to US$8 million to each of the teams eliminated at the group stage.
Each qualified team also received US$1.5 million to cover preparation costs, meaning all teams were guaranteed at least US$9.5 million each for their participation.
The Canadian men, currently ranked 43rd in the world, are in Europe preparing for friendlies against No. 48 Qatar on Friday in Vienna and No. 13 Uruguay next Tuesday in Bratislava.
They have one more wamup match, against No. 24 Japan on Nov. 17 in Dubai, before opening World Cup play Nov. 23 against second-ranked Belgium.
After Belgium, Canada plays No. 15 Croatia on Nov. 27 and No. 23 Morocco on Dec. 1 in Group F play.