World Cup 2022: What to know about the Canadian soccer dispute over image rights between the federation and players

While the Canadian team will be participating in their first World Cup since 1986 after finishing first in Concacaf World Cup qualifying, tensions between Canada Soccer and the players seem to be growing by the day. After skipping training in June and eventually leading to the cancellation of a friendly against Panama, the national team sent a “Dear Canada” letter stating what their demands are from Canada Soccer. While they did end up playing their Nations League games over the summer, as well as friendlies during the September international window, things seem far from settled between the players and the federation, even if a strike threat isn’t looming. for the World Cup.

One of the things that Canadian soccer players want is for the federation, and the federation’s sponsors, to negotiate directly with them for their image rights before running ads. This was not done with Alphonso Davies when a Gatorade ad was released which reportedly prompted his agent Nick Huoseh to tell Canada Soccer and Fanatics to stop selling the Bayern Munich star’s national team jersey.

This is what you should know:

Why was Canada Soccer told to stop selling Davies’ jersey?

The Canadian soccer federation has been told to stop selling Alphonso Davies jerseys, according to TSN. An ad for Gatorade was sent to Davies’ agent, Nick Huoseh, for his approval, who turned it down. In September, Huoseh reportedly told Fanatics that they also did not have the right to sell Davies’ jersey on their own site or Canada Soccer’s website because they did not negotiate their image rights and provided Davies with a share. of profits from sales, per the TSN report.

“The national team players have never received royalties from sales, and they should,” Huoseh said. “We just want what’s fair and they absolutely can and should do this.”

The Canadian players’ association sent Canada Soccer a warning that none of the federation’s sponsors can use a player’s image rights without first negotiating directly with the player. This does not affect individual dealings a player may have with a specific sponsor unrelated to Canada Soccer.

Why did the team boycott before the Panama game was cancelled?

This is an issue that has been growing but came to a head in June when the team’s friendly against Panama was canceled due to a boycott. One of the central themes behind that boycott and cancellation is seeking equal FIFA percentages for the men’s and women’s team, while the team also turned down a contract offer from Canada Soccer before the game that did not meet their expectations.

These are similar to labor disputes that the US women’s team was able to resolve in your last collective agreement for all players to receive shares of the World Cup money. The USWNT deal also made US Soccer commit to providing an equal pay rate to bother the men’s and women’s national teams. Canada’s proposal differs from that of the United States in that it deals with equal percentages and not dollar amounts.

The national team played its scheduled Nations League games, but the players want a review of Canada Soccer’s broadcast and sponsorship contracts, 40% of the World Cup qualifying money and a joint contract with the women’s team which includes equal compensation. Players would also like a friends and family package for the 2022 World Cup and for more former players to integrate into Canada Soccer’s leadership.

Canada’s qualification for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 has given players a chance to push their claims across the line. Resolving these demands would give the team positive momentum both to go to the World Cup and to host the 2026 World Cup with the United States and Mexico, but negotiating with Canada Soccer to essentially revamp Canadian Soccer Business has not been easy. The women’s national team, current Olympic champions, will also play in next summer’s Women’s World Cup.

In 2019, Canada Soccer signed a 10-year deal with Canadian Soccer Business, which is owned by the owners of Canadian Premier League teams. Canadian Soccer Business currently negotiates all sponsorship deals, but that money rarely reaches the players, leading to the current dispute over where that money goes.

Is Canada’s participation in the World Cup in doubt?

The two sides have been negotiating, but due to the ongoing image rights dispute, there is quite a bit of ground to cover before they can come to an agreement. At the moment, there is no risk of Canada attacking before the World Cup, but there will probably be more bumps in the road before a deal is done. The Canadian Soccer Players Association is still negotiating and progress has been made, but a contract offered in September has not yet been accepted due to the gap in how to divide the prize money and the help available to friends and family of the players. players go to Qatar.

While other issues at play may be ironed out after the World Cup, those key issues will likely need to be ironed out before things get underway in Qatar on November 20.

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