Canada Women’s national team ends strike after threat of legal action

Canada Women’s national team ENDS strike with players to resume training ahead of the SheBelieves Cup following Canada Soccer’s ‘threat of legal action’ – but captain Christine Sinclair warns ‘this is NOT over’ after ‘being forced back to work’

The Canadian Women’s national team strike is over with players to return to training and games after Canada Soccer threatened legal action following their protest over cuts to the team’s program.

Players did not practice earlier Saturday in preparation for this week’s SheBelieves Cup game against the rival US national team in Florida, after announcing a day earlier: ‘The time is now, we are taking job action.’

Representatives and legal counsel for Canada Soccer met Saturday with the team.

‘Prior to that meeting, Canada Soccer told us that they consider our job action to be an unlawful strike,’ the team said in a statement released Saturday night.

Players claimed Soccer Canada threatened to ‘not only take legal action to force us back to the pitch but would consider taking steps to collect what could be millions of dollars in damages from our players association and from each of the individual players currently in camp’ if they did not commit to playing in the tournament.

Canadian Women’s national team strike is over with players to return to training and games

Team captain Christine Sinclair warned 'this is not over' as she shared players' statement

Team captain Christine Sinclair warned ‘this is not over’ as she shared players’ statement

‘As individual players who have received no compensation yet for any of our work for Canada Soccer in 2022, we cannot afford the risks that personal action against us by Canada Soccer will create,’ the statement said. 

‘Because of this, we have advised Canada Soccer that we will return to training tomorrow and will play in the SheBelieves Cup as scheduled.’

Captain Christine Sinclair shared the team statement on Twitter and added: ‘To be clear. We are being forced back to work for the short term. This is not over. 

‘We will continue to fight for everything we deserve and we will win. The She Believes is being played in protest.’ has reached out to Canada Soccer for comment. 

Canada’s women won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and qualified last summer for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, starting on July 20.

Canada was scheduled to play its opening SheBelieves Cup match against the United States on Thursday at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium. Japan and Brazil are also playing in the round-robin tournament that will visit three US cities.

According to a statement from the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association on Friday – the union representing the CWNT – they’ve been forced to cut ‘full camp windows, cut the number of players and staff invited into camps, significantly limit the already limited youth team’s activities, all while we continue to face immense uncertainty about compensation.’

Sinclair (No. 12) added: We will continue to fight for everything we deserve and we will win'

 Sinclair (No. 12) added: We will continue to fight for everything we deserve and we will win’

‘Canada’s national teams have never been more successful, or attracting more corporate dollars,’ the statement added. ‘Yet despite these steps forward, we are still stuck asking the same question… where is the funding?’

The statement continued: ‘We, the Women’s National Soccer Team players, are demanding immediate change. Canada Soccer must live up to its public commitment to gender equity and its obligation as the national governing body for soccer in Canada to advance the sport, not drag it down. 

‘We expect and deserve nothing less than to be treated equally and fairly and to have our program – and our World Cup preparations – funded appropriately. If Canada Soccer is not willing or able to support our team, new leadership should be found.’

The women’s team gained support from the men’s national team, with multiple World Cup players – including Celtic defender Alastair Johnston – tweeting out a statement from their own players association in solidarity.