Canada Soccer president gone after women's players protest
Nick Bontis is out as the head of Canada Soccer.
On Monday afternoon, Bontis, the now-former president of the country’s national soccer organization, announced that he was stepping down from his volunteer position.
“Today, I have submitted my resignation, effective immediately, to Canada Soccer’s Board of Directors,” Bontis wrote in a statement. “I want to thank the entire membership, our players, our sponsors, and every Canadian soccer fan who continues to support the growth of soccer in our country.”
Bontis, who also works as the chair of strategic management at DeGroote School of Business at Hamilton’s McMaster University, had been the target of criticism for his handling of labour disputes with both the men’s and women’s national teams during his time in charge.
Most recently, the women’s national team played the three-game SheBelieves Cup under protest of the national soccer organization, calling out Canada Soccer in a statement.
“If Canada Soccer is not willing or able to support our team, new leadership should be found,” read the statement. “We are committed to doing whatever it takes to create public awareness of this crisis and to force Canada Soccer to start to support the national teams properly.”
In June 2022, the men’s team went on strike for a scheduled friendly match at BC Place against Panama over “player compensation issues,” and backed the women’s team in a statement released on February 10 while also calling for the removal of Canada Soccer leadership.
A message from #CANMNT 🍁 pic.twitter.com/1SA4L1oWk8
— Alistair Johnston (@_a_johnston) February 10, 2023
On Monday, the 13 provincial and territorial members of Canada Soccer sent a letter to the organization demanding Bontis’ resignation.
The 13 provincial & territorial members of Canada Soccer have sent Canada Soccer President Nick Bontis a letter demanding his resignation, TSN has learned.
Today's letter says provincial members have no confidence in Bontis's leadership.
Story up soon on https://t.co/ZM3ewglBxy.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) February 27, 2023
Bontis had worked as part of Canada Soccer’s board since 2012 and was named to the presidential role in 2020.
Under Bontis, the Canadian women won Olympic gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, while the men’s national side qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, its first appearance in the tournament in 36 years.
“Canada Soccer and both of our National Team Programs have the real potential to sign a historic collective bargaining agreement,” Bontis said in the statement. “Once signed, it will be a landmark deal that will set our nation apart from virtually every other FIFA Member Association. While I have been one of the biggest proponents of equalizing the competitive performance environment for our Women’s National Team, I will unfortunately not be leading this organization when it happens. I acknowledge that this moment requires change.”
The full statement from Bontis is available on CanadaSoccer.com.
- You might also like:
- "It’s shocking": Kaylyn Kyle sounds off on Canada Soccer management