The Hamilton Spectator
Liberal MP wants to expedite having Canada Soccer hearing
It appears Canada Soccer may soon join Hockey Canada in coming under the scrutiny of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
Liberal MP Anthony Housefather says the parliamentary committee has already requested the minutes of Canada Soccer’s board and wants to question the governing body in a future meeting. And while Canada Soccer was one of several governing bodies the committee had already planned to examine, Housefather says it should be moved “to the top of the list” given the ongoing labour impasse with the men’s and women’s national soccer teams.
The Canadian women briefly went on strike over the weekend before being forced back onto the pitch by their governing body.
“I will be discussing with my colleagues expediting having Canada Soccer present to us,” Housefather told The Canadian Press on Monday. “And I will also be proposing that the women’s team be invited to come speak to the committee as well.”
While Housefather, who represents the Quebec riding of Mount Royal, said he does not want to prejudge the situation, “it would be good for Canadians to have us help get to the bottom of it.”
The Canadian women boycotted practice Saturday in Orlando and said they would not take part in the SheBelieves Cup until their grievances were addressed. But they reluctantly returned to training Sunday after Canada Soccer threatened them with legal action if they did not end their job action.
Canada Soccer said the players “were not and are not in a legal strike position under Ontario labour law.” The women said they would play the SheBelieves Cup under protest.
The Canadian women are demanding the same backing in preparing for this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand that the men received last year before Qatar. And they want Canada Soccer to open its books.
In 2021, Canada Soccer spent $11 million on the men’s team and $5.1 million on the women. Team captain Christine Sinclair notes some $2.5 million of the women’s
‘‘ Sport Canada funds female teams and if the money isn’t going to these teams, the minister will have to verify this because that is unacceptable. Women’s sports should be funded to the same extent.
ISABELLE MONDOU CANADIAN HERITAGE DEPUTY MINISTER
funding came from Own The Podium. That contribution means the federal government is watching.
Canadian Heritage deputy minister Isabelle Mondou was asked Monday during a standing committee hearing on the Status of Women about how national sport organizations fund their men’s and women’s team, with soccer used as an example.
“Sport Canada funds female teams and if the money isn’t going to these teams, the minister will have to verify this because that is unacceptable,” Mondou said. “Women’s sports should be funded to the same extent.”
Canada Soccer has repeatedly said that pay equity will be a pillar of the new labour deal.
Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams want more transparency when it comes to Canada Soccer’s books, including its controversial agreement with Canada Soccer Business, which represents all corporate partnerships and broadcast rights related to Canada Soccer’s core assets including its national teams.
Under the deal, Canada Soccer Business pays Canada Soccer a set amount each year. It keeps the rest under an agreement that helps fund the Canadian Premier League.
Housefather wants to shed light on the Canada Soccer Business deal.
“As you saw with Hockey Canada, having access to documents allows you to ask very pointed questions,” he said.
“But the main thing here is there’s been a desire from the women’s and the men’s national teams, at the very least, and I think many others across the community to have greater transparency in Canada Soccer. And there’s been questions about governance.
“These are the issues that our committee explored with Hockey Canada and these are the issues I think we will explore with Canada Soccer.”