Men's players blast Canada Soccer over September scheduling as labour tensions rise

In an open letter, the Players Association lambasted the organization for 'squandering' the international window.

Players on the Canadian men’s national soccer team published a letter Friday criticizing Canada Soccer for not scheduling a game or training camp during an allotted September window.

In the letter, the Canada Men's National Soccer Team Players Association expressed that they are "extremely disappointed" in Canada Soccer for not utilizing this available window "for the first time in years." Players from all over the globe will be heading for international duty from their clubs, though the Canadian men’s team does not have anything arranged.

Notably, the 2023 CONCACAF Nations League Quarterfinal matches are two months away.

This is just the latest escalation of the conflict between Canada Soccer and the players.

"Canada Soccer has been quick to point the finger at us," the letter continues, "blaming our refusal to accept a proposal that would reduce our per-game compensation by as much as 70% through a confusing and unfair system that would undermine the principles of pay equity that the men's and women's national teams have worked hard to achieve."

Last month, the players sent cease and desist letters to Canada Soccer sponsors, demanding they stop using the names, images, and likeliness of any national players amidst a cutthroat negotiation for a CBA between the governing body and players.

"Canada Soccer is asking us to agree to this while fully acknowledging that it would not actually meaningfully improve the state of its financial affairs, and telling us that they will ask us to accept even less to play next year," the letter reads.

The players say they are
The players say they are "extremely disappointed" in Canada Soccer for not utilizing the allotted September window to hold any training sessions or games. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The players association added that they have made a "highly reasonable" proposal to Canada Soccer to resolve all outstanding issues, including pay from the 2022 World Cup. The letter also mentions that even more cancellations, including the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal games, are being threatened.

Their letter concludes by addressing further critiques of Canada Soccer’s business model through the Canada Soccer Business deal. CSB pays Canada Soccer a certain amount each calendar year, retaining whatever revenue it generates from the national teams’ media rights and sponsorships to fund the homegrown and domestic Canadian Premier League.

With the 2026 World Cup set to come to North America, including games in Toronto and Vancouver, the pressure is only compounding on the two sides to come to an agreement.