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Canada Soccer cancels international friendly against Panama

John Herdman’s men will not take the field on June 5th at BC Place amid player compensation issues.

Canada beats Jamaica in FIFA CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying 4-0 to Qualify for the World Cup in Qatar Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Canada Soccer has announced that the Canadian men’s national team will not play their friendly fixture against Panama due to the ongoing dispute over the allocation of funds from qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and more.

After refusing to train on both Friday and Saturday, this caps off quite the chaotic weekend for the Canadian Soccer Association.

“In March we initiated contract discussions with Canada Soccer,” the men’s national team said in a statement.

“Due to executives delaying the process and taking vacations, the negotiation process was unnecessarily prolonged. Canada Soccer waited until the evening of July 2 to present an archaic offer and the general secretary and president of the association only made themselves available for the first time to connect with players on June 4 at 4 p.m. For these reasons, we have reluctantly decided not to play our match today against Panama.”

Per the statement, the players are asking for:

  • Transparency and a review of the Canadian Soccer Business Agreement.
  • A leadership team that can optimize and generate revenue from corporate sponsorship.
  • 40% of World Cup qualification money and a comprehensive friends & family package.
  • A joint contract with the women’s team with equal compensation for match fees.
  • More former players (men’s, women’s, para) integrated into leadership roles.

In addition, the players apologized to the Panamanian players, staff, fans and association, and supporters in Vancouver who were set to attend the match.

This cancellation follows that of the Iran friendly, which two weeks ago, was the game Canadian soccer fans thought they were getting on Sunday, June 5th.

It remains to be seen what’s next, but as of now, the Canadian men’s national team is still scheduled to face Curaçao in CONCACAF Nations League action on Thursday, June 9th at BC Place.