PORTLAND, Ore. – Canada captain Christine Sinclair says she's confident the Canadian women's national team will come to a last-minute pay agreement with its federation before the players depart for the Women's World Cup.
“It's not going to be some long-term deal, but it will at least cover this year,” said Sinclair, who characterized the agreement as imminent before the team departs for Australia on Monday for a pre-World Cup camp.
Both the men's and women's national teams have been negotiating new contracts with Canada Soccer for more than a year. Sinclair is among the players who have led the team in its fight for equitable pay and treatment.
“Our conversations with both of our national teams are ongoing and we share the desire to get this resolved as soon as possible,” Canada Soccer interim General Secretary Jason deVos said in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday.
The friction between the two sides was on display earlier this year when the players threatened to boycott the SheBelieves Cup in the United States. Canada Soccer threatened legal action and the players acquiesced but wore purple T-shirts during pregame ceremonies that read “Enough is Enough.”
“The Americans have gone through it, it's a long, slow, drawn-out process to get what we deserve,” Sinclair said. “I have full confidence that it's going to happen in the next couple of days. I have no doubt that it's going to happen.”
The Canadian players have been asking for a contract that would pay the men's and women's teams equitably, similar to the groundbreaking agreement the American national teams made with U.S. Soccer last year.
In March, Canada Soccer and the team struck an interim funding agreement to compensate the women for the previous year after players said they went unpaid.
The players have also said they’ve had to cut training camp days and full camp windows, as well as trim the number of players and staff invited into camps. They were told there would be no home games scheduled before the World Cup.
Sinclair spoke after her club team, the Portland Thorns, defeated the Washington Spirit 4-2 in the National Women's Soccer League on Friday night. It was the final club match for international players before the World Cup, which runs July 20-Aug. 20 in Australia and New Zealand.
Canada is making its eighth appearance in soccer's premier tournament. The team opens against Nigeria on July 21 in Melbourne.