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.
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.
Teams at the World Cup in Qatar will be allowed a roster of 23 to 26 players, up from 23 in past tournaments.
But while the player roster has been increased, FIFA has not changed the number of people in each country’s delegation that it is willing to pay for when it comes to travel and accommodation. As at the 2018 tournament in Russia, the world governing body of soccer will pay for business-class return flights “for up to 50 delegation members.”
FIFA will also cover board and lodging “for up to 50 people from each participating member association.”
Team delegations can be larger, if they pay the extra cost.
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 warm-up match, against No. 24 Japan on Nov. 17 in Dubai, before opening World Cup play Nov. 23 against second-ranked Belgium.