(Vancouver) Experts say the goodwill created by the field success of Canadian soccer teams in recent months is rapidly disappearing due to the heated exchange between the men’s roster and Canada Soccer, the national association of sport.
Posted yesterday at 10:53 am
The team refused to play a pre-World Cup friendly against Panama on Sunday. The game scheduled at BC Place in Vancouver was canceled less than two hours before kickoff.
Exercises in Vancouver were also canceled on Friday and Saturday due to lengthy negotiations.
“That’s probably the last thing Soccer Canada wants to happen,” said sports marketing expert Tom Mayenknecht. “This game is essentially guaranteed to be a celebration after a historic qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And that is the exact opposite of what I believe they need.»
The Canadian players released a statement on Monday revealing that they took part in training on the same day, but have yet to find a resemblance to Canadian Soccer.
Hundreds of frustrated fans wearing red and white jerseys lingered outside the stadium after the game was canceled on Sunday.
While fans are sympathetic when their favorite singer or athlete cancels a show due to COVID-19 or illness, they are not so when it comes to cancellations due to contract negotiations, said Moshe Lander, a sports economist at Concordia University.
“It doesn’t matter how principled it is,” he said. Always making mistakes. »
The controversy could also hamper efforts to attract new fans at this very important time for Canadian soccer, Lander added.
“When you’re trying to raise interest in soccer and stimulate people … You can’t afford to have a public relations with the adversary, even if it’s valid,” he explains. Now is not the time to do that. »
Canadian soccer clubs have had tremendous success on the international stage recently. The men’s team qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and the women’s squad won gold at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.
In addition, Canada will be one of three host countries for the 2026 World Cup – along with Mexico and the United States – because the sport is set to experience huge growth nationwide, Mayenknecht said, but if Canada Soccer and its players can solve the difficult issue.
“I feel it, the danger, the downfall that this whole thing can bring if you don’t take full advantage of the next five years,” he noted.
“It’s also historic, the fact that you not only qualified for Qatar 2022, but that you were also guaranteed a place for the 2026 World Cup. These qualifications back and forth, I can’t say it enough, from a business perspective., a great opportunity to fully evaluate Canadian investments in soccer. »
The Canadian players released a statement on Sunday that they began talks in March and described the proposal made by the organization on Thursday as “archaic.”
“It’s time for us to stand up for the future of soccer in Canada,” the statement said.
The players also said they want more transparency from Canada Soccer, organizational leadership changes and World Cup compensation that includes 40% salary and a “full package for friends and family” for 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The players ’proposal is not financially viable, said Canada Soccer President Nick Bontis. He added that he made a “reasonable” offer.
“Canada Soccer works with players in good faith to find an agreement that is fair and equitable for all,” he said.
Players also want to review the deal Canada Soccer signed with Canadian Soccer Business (CSB) in 2019. The 10-year deal will see CSB representing the men’s and women’s national teams in all sponsorship and broadcast deals . .
Bontis defended the agreement, saying Canada Soccer Business plays a “key role” in the development of the sport in Canada.
Canada Soccer Business President Scott Mitchell released a statement Sunday night saying he “fully supports” the call for more transparency.
“We are proud of our agreement with Canada Soccer and what it means for the Canadian soccer ecosystem,” he said. We are ready for full transparency in our deal which includes an unprecedented amount of revenue for Canada Soccer over the past 18 months in the form of sponsorship and international media money. »
It’s not uncommon for sports organizations to deal with a company to manage their partners and television rights if those skills are outside their area of expertise, explains Mike Naraine, an assistant professor of sports management. at Brock University.
“The problem it introduced was, from a sports business management perspective, you now rely on this company and your hands are tied to the duration of the contract, he goes down. And the effort to break this contract is very expensive, it will cost too much money. So you have to live with it well. »
“And that is the problem with signing long -term agreements. »
Canada Soccer’s sponsorships are “negligible” compared to other national sporting organizations in the country, Naraine added.
“Curling Canada has just found a sports betting partner. There’s no reason why Canada Soccer can’t do the same, he said. But again, they can’t because Canada Soccer Business holds their sponsor right.
The players are also calling for a fair compensation structure for men’s and women’s teams, and the formation of a national women’s league.
The Canadian women’s team reacted with a statement that they were happy with the men’s team’s initiative, but mentioned that the women’s team did not consider FIFA’s equal percentages for both teams as a salary.
“The National Women’s Team will not accept any deal that does not offer equal pay,” the statement read.
The women’s group also clarified that they view the proposal filed on Friday by Canada Soccer for both teams as a “positive step” toward pay equality between men’s and women’s teams, ”and provide the basis for future negotiations. ” “.
The American Soccer Association recently agreed to collective agreements that offer equal pay for the first time to both men’s and women’s teams.
The men’s team has not played at home since beating Jamaica 4-0 in Toronto on March 27 to earn a World Cup berth.
Canada will start the CONCACAF Nations League against Curaçao (79e) in Vancouver on June 9.