Canadian men's soccer team returns to field after three-day strike

Jun 6 2022, 10:19 pm

The dispute isn’t over yet but the players are back on the field.

Call it progress?

Canada’s men’s national soccer team will resume training in Vancouver today, despite not resolving their differences with Canada Soccer.

“Canada Soccer senior leaders and the Men’s National Team players met on Sunday night to continue the negotiation process,” Canada Soccer said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “The players will train this afternoon with future meetings scheduled toward a resolution.”

The players explained their decision to return to the pitch in an open letter shown below by TSN’s Rick Westhead.

“To be clear we have not reached an agreement with the Canadian Soccer Association,” the players said. “The players have met with the senior leaders of Canada Soccer on Sunday evening and will continue the negotiation process, but questions have yet to be answered and actions have yet to be taken.”

It’s been an embarrassing last 24 hours for Canada Soccer, which saw them have to cancel an international friendly against Panama at BC Place last minute when the Canadian men’s players went on strike.

National team players, who flew from around the world to be in Vancouver to represent their country, also refused to participate in training sessions on Friday and Saturday.

In a statement released on Sunday, the players said they felt “disrespected” by Canada Soccer executives, who they claimed were reluctant to meet with them.

Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis was on the defensive in a subsequent press conference that has been panned by critics.

“I can’t accept an offer that will put our organization in a financial position that is untenable,” said Bontis. “And what I need to do is explain to the players, which we have, what our financial position is and how we can move forward.”

After passionately expressing a desire for face-to-face communication, Bontis reportedly returned home to Ontario early Monday morning. Players had previously expressed frustration that he didn’t meet with them until Saturday afternoon.

Canada has a Nations League match against Curaçao, scheduled to take place on Thursday at BC Place.

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