Canada Soccer Association are just the latest in a line of football federations facing a barrage of backlash from their women’s team - how has women’s football gotten to this point?
Forced to play against their will.
Threatened with court if they do not comply.
What a way to treat your Olympic Champions.
For a nation known for its equality this value is being called into question - a $6million dollar discrepancy just the tip of the iceberg.
It has seemed that every women’s international break has brought with it a new scandal involving a different football federation - and this one is no different.
The Canadian Soccer Association has joined Spain and the United States in being the latest federation to be called out over its mistreatment of its athletes.
Use the links below, to find out more about Spain and the United States.
Last Friday the Canadian women’s team decided “enough is enough” and that they would be taking “job action” ahead of the She Believes Cup.
A quote the players read: “The Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team is both outraged and deeply concerned with the news of significant cuts to the national team programs for 2023.”
The funding cuts had resulted in such depletion on resources that only 20 players had been training ahead of their clash with the United States - compared to the 28 players ahead of the Tokyo Olympics - not even enough to complete an 11-a-side match.
On Tuesday, a media call was arranged by the Canadian Soccer Player Association (CSPA), featuring captain Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt, Janine Beckie, and Quinn. The call was restricted to certain topics as a result of ongoing legal disputes but the players were still able to make their feelings clear, with Sophie Schmidt announcing her international retirement “Angry, frustrated, appalled and heartbroken”.
It is so sad to see how women’s football continues to be mistreated but unfortunately the problem is nothing new.
This dispute with the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team has been brewing for over 30 years, and the Canadian Women’s Soccer Alumni have come out and expressed their full support for the country’s current players.
The dispute isn’t even contained within the women’s set-up. The Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team, who formed their own players’ association last year and are currently in the process of agreeing their own pay deal, have also come out in full support of the women’s team action and have expressed their own concerns about the rapidly decreasing funding both teams have/haven’t been receiving.
Manager of the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team is also understood to be questioning her own future as the disputes continue.
The initial strike action was halted, after players were individually threatened with legal action and being sued.
However, the players have decided to use the She Believes Cup as an opportunity to protest, covering up the national team badge in training and, ahead of their match with the United States, wearing purple shirts with ‘Enough is enough’ written on them - which the players have said they will continue to wear “until our association has standards in place that ensure equal treatment and opportunity”.
Beckie, who watched the Canadian Men’s National Soccer team out in Qatar, saw the true extent as to the wealth of resources the men’s team had access to; and while she is grateful for their support, all she wants more than anything if for the women’s team to have the same equal opportunities as the men - “There’s no way we should be in this position.”
Female footballers are often praised for the time and attention they give to their fans and this scenario should certainly be no different.
While trying to keep herself composed and strong, Beckie thanked the fans for their continuing support and that she wanted to “see and hear fans in Orlando.”
The players certainly aren’t on their own in this fight though. The American Women’s National Soccer Team knows all about legal battles, after successfully suing their employers and finally being granted pay equity in a groundbreaking case, and Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn have come out with their public support for the battle the players are facing.
Ahead of their She Believes Cup match with the United States, the players from both teams came together in the centre of the pitch and showed that they were altogether in the fight for women’s equality in sport.
I think what fans of women’s football are all hoping for is that we don’t get to the world cup in five months time minus the Olympic champions.
We want this situation resolved and we want equal treatment for our women’s teams - who are arguably well out-performing our respective men’s teams.