The Canada women’s national team is set to start their 2023 Women’s World Cup Thursday night in Australia. Players on the team will be looking forward to getting back to the pitch after dealing with off-field issues. Team members have been in a dispute with their federation over pay and working conditions for months now. However, the upcoming match will give the team a chance to focus on the competition.

Captain says agreement edging closer

“We all have a lot on our plates,” Canada captain Christine Sinclair told reporters on Thursday. “I have to give a lot of credit to Janine Beckie, who is unfortunately not here with us due to injury but who has taken on a massive role in dealing with our federation and negotiations so that we as players here at the World Cup, in these weeks leading into the tournament, we haven’t had to do anything.”

Although a deal between the players and their federation did not get done before the World Cup, Sinclair declared that an agreement was close between the two sides. The team’s record goalscorer also acknowledged that she would not be discussing the negotiations during the tournament.

Canada not alone at World Cup in dealing with federation issues

Canada faces Nigeria in their opening match of the competition. The African team has endured a similar situation with their federation as well. While Sinclair did not want to delve too deep into their talks with Canadian officials, she did offer her support for Canada’s upcoming opponents.

“The world of women’s football is very small,” Sinclair continued. “We all support each other. I feel like each women’s team has to face their battles one at a time. This past year we’ve been facing ours and Nigeria [is] now with their federation. We fully support them. Every single player in this tournament deserves the world – deserves equal treatment from their federations.”

Canada is currently the highest-ranked team in Group B of the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The CONCACAF team ranks seventh, while Nigeria sits 40th. The two sides are up against hosts Australia and the 22nd-ranked Republic of Ireland.