The issue of naming, imaging and licensing rights has been a point of contention in labor negotiations between Canada Soccer and the men’s national team ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.
The association recently reached an agreement with star player Alphonso Davies. Under this agreement, according to a TSN reportthe Bayern Munich winger will receive a fee for the sale of his national team shirt.
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Canada Soccer did not disclose the terms of the deal, but its president said on Wednesday that similar deals will be offered to players from both the men’s and women’s teams.
It’s a “complicated question”, say sports analysts, which distracts from Canada’s first men’s World Cup appearance in 36 years.
“I think it will have an absolute impact on performance on the court,” said Mac Ross, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Western University who specializes in sports and human rights.
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Canada Soccer President Nick Bontis expects the association to sign “an epic and historic pay equity agreement” with the men’s and women’s teams ahead of the start of the World Cup in Qatar on 20 november.
“I’m really, really anticipating and hoping we can do something before we hit a ball in Doha,” Bontis said, speaking on behind the bench, a weekly coaching webcast on Wednesday.
Ross said it was surprising that a deal to compensate men linked to the World Cup hadn’t been negotiated sooner.
“It’s really a headache that Canada Soccer hasn’t put anything in place already, especially with the rise of the MLS and the popularization of high performance soccer in Canada over the past decades,” he told Global News.
The Canadians are also in full negotiation.
Under their previous agreement which expired in December 2021, the women were not further compensated, images of four or more athletes were used in a group photo.
Part of the reason women had a deal that covered image rights was because they were more successful and in higher demand than men, experts say.
The issue is now at the forefront with the rise of the Canadian men’s national team, with an increasing number of players playing professionally in Europe’s top leagues, said Concordia University sports economist Moshe Lander.
“Soccer is hot in Canada right now and in four years the World Cup will be here, so those are issues that need to be addressed,” he said.
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Ross said similar standards for compensating men and women should apply, which has not been the case in the past, with legendary players like Christine Sinclair, the all-time world leader in goals international markets, generating thousands of dollars for Canada Soccer through its jersey sales. .
“Over the years there has been no rush to compensate people like Christine Sinclair for all the jerseys she has sold,” he said.
“We fundamentally favor men’s sport over women’s sport, even though the women’s program is much more successful internationally than the men’s program.”
Davies, who plays as a left-back or winger for German club Bayern Munich, managed to strike a deal with Canada Soccer last month after the governing body had been in talks with his side for several weeks.
Davies’ jersey is by far the best-selling Canadian men’s jersey.
Bontis said the association first made a deal with the Davies because he sold the “predominant percentage” of Canadian jerseys.
It’s a thorny issue that has legal ramifications beyond business and will likely need to be reconsidered again, Lander said.
“I think Soccer Canada [sic] going to have a hard time here trying to figure out where exactly the line is between the crest that appears on the front and the name that appears on the back,” he said.
Ross said there was a “silver lining” for others as they would also likely be compensated in the near future, adding that professional athletes have a limited time to make money and national sports organizations shouldn’t not oppose it.
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Another issue on the table for players is the World Cup prize money.
Historically, most national teams have negotiated a percentage of the World Cup prize money, usually ranging between 20 and 30 percent, but Canadian men want a bigger share, Bontis said.
He said men and women will receive an equal share of the World Cup prize money in Qatar.
“Everything we trade will always go into the pockets of men and women. Nothing will be taken away and frankly on the women’s side, no matter what we negotiate with the men, the pay will be higher than what they have received in the past.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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