Canada coach Bev Priestman is optimistic a deal with the women’s team on World Cup remuneration can be wrapped up ahead of the tournament.
“I know that both parties want that,” Priestman told The Canadian Press on Thursday.
Priestman is not directly involved in the talks, with interim general secretary Jason deVos the point man for Canada Soccer. But she says she believes there is a “common goal” of reaching a deal covering the tournament.
“I just hope there is (a resolution) because I know how much of a distraction it is when it isn’t (done),” Priestman said. “When Jason came in (to the job), he said to me ‘My No. 1 priority is get this done, I want to work with you. I want to work with the players to get that done.’
“So I don’t know the finer details of where exactly we’re at. But what I will say … I’m hoping that’s going to be done.”
Canada captain Christine Sinclair said this week that the seventh-ranked Canadian women wanted the matter sorted before getting on the plane to Australia.
There is not much time. The Canadian women are scheduled to report to a pre-tournament camp in Australia’s Gold Coast on June 28.
“We’re not at a point where we’re not getting on a plane, but time’s coming where we want it done so as players we’re not having to deal with it while we’re trying to prepare,” said Sinclair.
Canada Soccer and its men’s and women’s teams have been embroiled in a labour dispute for more than a year.
Sinclair said the players, wanting to be able to focus on the World Cup, “have flat out told the CSA (Canada Soccer) that we need a deal in place for at least the World Cup and this year before we head down there.”
“So obviously we’re getting close. I think it will happen. Will it be a long-term deal? No. But something will be done before the World Cup starts,” she added.
Canada opens July 21 against No. 40 Nigeria in Melbourne before facing No. 22 Ireland on July 26 and No. 10 Australia back in Melbourne on July 31.
“Our conversations are ongoing and we share the desire to get this resolved as soon as possible,” deVos said in a statement given Wednesday to The Canadian Press.
The women, who formed the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association in 2016, have been without a labour deal since the last one expired at the end of 2021. They have already struck an agreement in principle with Canada Soccer on compensation for 2022, but say other issues have yet to be resolved.
The men, who organized last summer as the Canada Men’s National Soccer Team Players Association, are working on their first formal labour agreement.
Both teams have taken job action. The men boycotted a planned friendly in Vancouver against Panama in June 2022 over their dissatisfaction with the progress of the labour talks.
Earlier this year the Canadian women threatened to down tools at the SheBelieves Cup in the U.S., but reluctantly returned to the field after Canada Soccer threatened legal action.