Canada in pre-World Cup chaos as Panama friendly is axed after players go on STRIKE over pay deal

CANADA’S World Cup preparations were sent into a tailspin when a player STRIKE forced their warm-up game with Panama to be cancelled.

English coach John Herdman was left in the lurch when his players refused to train over the weekend ahead of the game in Vancouver.



Herdman’s squad are demanding a bigger share of World Cup revenues after being initially offered just 10 per cent of the £8million Canada Soccer stand to receive from Fifa in their first appearance at the tournament since 1986.

But the stand-off saw Sunday’s game called off less than three hours before kick-off, with hundreds of fans already at the stadium.

And the squad are also threatening to boycott Thursday’s Concacaf Cup game with Curacao – leaving the federation exposed to a huge damages claim.

Herdman’s squad accused Canada Soccer of an “archaic offer” and not engaging with the players until Saturday, when the strike began.

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They say they want an “equitable” pay structure so that the Olympic champion women’s national team “shares the same player match fees”.

But embarrassed Canada Soccer boss Nick Bontis, who “apologised” to fans, said he was “very disappointed” with the team for refusing to play.

The federation is understood to have now made a revised offer worth 40 per cent of the World Cup revenues – around £3.2m – which has also been knocked back.

Bontis added: “Canada Soccer has been working with the players in good faith to find a path forward that is fair and equitable to all.

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“We would like to have a facts-based discussion within the fiscal realities we have to live with and we are committed to offering the exact same terms to the women’s national team.”

But the mess has already cost Herdman two of the maximum 16 training sessions before his side kick off their tournament against Belgium in November, with potentially more chaos ahead.

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