The Canadian Premier League says it has voluntarily recognized that the Professional Footballers Association of Canada will represent professional soccer players under contract to CPL teams.
An online, secret ballot was held among players between Dec. 15 and 19 with the majority of votes in favour of PFA Canada representing the players as their bargaining agent.
All players under contract to CPL clubs were given the opportunity to cast a vote.
CPL commissioner Mark Noonan and PFA Canada president Marco Carducci agreed to give players a process to freely express their wishes as to representation in collective bargaining.
“We have no doubt that by working with the CPL through collective bargaining, we’ll produce an even stronger relationship between players and the league and further establish Canada’s first division as a premier CONCACAF competition that continues to grow, as does Canadian’s desire for top-flight football,” Noonan said in a release.
The vote was conducted by an arm’s-length, third-party provider specializing in online voting.
CPL players’ move to unionization comes four months after Canada’s national men’s soccer team formed a player association to negotiate with Canada Soccer. Members of the Canadian women’s team established a player association in 2016.
“Since bringing CPL players together through PFA Canada, we’ve worked hard to amplify players’ demand for meaningful input and to make professional football in Canada a viable career choice,” said Carducci.
“We have no doubt that by working with the CPL through collective bargaining, we’ll produce an even stronger relationship between players and the League and further establish Canada’s first division as a premier CONCACAF destination competition that continues to grow, as does Canadian’s desire for top-flight football.”
The CPL announced on Nov. 2 that Vancouver FC, would join the league in 2023. After FC Edmonton folded 19 days later, there will be eight CPL teams playing next season.
Further expansion is planned for Saskatoon and Windsor, Ont.