The Canada women’s national team has announced a strike due to a general lack of financial support from Canada Soccer.

Equal pay compared to their male counterparts is essentially the crux of the issue. The declaration comes less than a week before the SheBelieves Cup begins.

Team captain Christine Sinclair discussed the decision with Canadian outlet TSN. “It hurts, I’m not going to lie,” stated Sinclair. “We all represent this country proudly. We’ve shared some of the greatest moments together.”

“But to not feel that support from your own federation has been hard in the past. But it’s gotten to a point where, at least for me personally, until this is resolved I can’t represent this federation. I’m such a competitor that breaks my heart and kills me…”

Players’ Association reveals cutbacks for women’s team

The Canadian Soccer Players’ Association also released a statement via Twitter. In the bulletin, the organization that represents the players of the Canadian team said that they are “outraged and deeply concerned with the news of significant cuts.”

Cutbacks for the Canada women’s national team reportedly consist of limiting training camp days, reducing the number of players and staff for the camps, and trimming youth team activities.

The team also claims that they have been told that there will be no home games for the women’s team ahead of the Women’s World Cup.

Canada Soccer claims that talks are ongoing

Canada Soccer released their own statement following the announcement of the strike. The organization claimed that pay equity for the women’s team is currently being negotiated with the players.

Meetings between the two sides are also set for Saturday. “Canada Soccer and our legal counsel will be meeting with our Women’s National Team in Orlando tomorrow morning, as agreed to last Sunday, to continue our discussions,” read the statement.

The women’s team is currently in Orlando preparing for the SheBelieves Cup. They are scheduled to face the United States women’s national team on February 16th at Exploria Stadium.

It remains to be seen whether team Canada will participate in the tournament or not.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Action Plus