Sports Minister imposes new conditions on Canada Soccer funding

The federal sports minister has told Canada Soccer that the government is attaching new conditions to federal funding for the sports organization in the future, CBC News has learned.

Sports Minister Pascale-St Onge sent the football organization a letter on Tuesday saying she shared her concerns about the organization’s “lack of financial transparency” and ongoing labor disputes.

St-Onge said Canada Soccer must undergo a financial audit and governance review and must accept advice from an external advisory group in order to continue receiving federal funding.

“We expect Canada Soccer to make the necessary changes to ensure equality between its national team programs as soon as possible,” St-Onge wrote in the letter sent to Canada Soccer and obtained by CBC News.

“Canadians expect to see greater transparency in how Canada Soccer allocates funds between its men’s and women’s programs, including the negotiation of commercial contracts and broadcast deals.

Canada Soccer’s new demands come after months of turmoil at the top of the sport’s governing body. This year’s labor disputes led to the resignation of the organization’s president, Nick Bontis, and general secretary, Earl Cochrane.

Four Olympic women’s soccer champions appeared before a parliamentary committee in March to talk about their battle with Canada Soccer for equal pay and pay. They described being treated like second-class players by Canada Soccer.

Team captain Christine Sinclair cited a “culture of secrecy and obstruction” at Canada Soccer and said players don’t know how the money comes in or out.

SHOW/ National women’s soccer team players fight for equality on Parliament Hill

Soccer players fight for equality on Parliament Hill

Members of Canada’s gold medal-winning women’s soccer team told MPs they were being asked to do more with less and were not being paid or treated the same as members of the men’s team.

In his letter to Canada Soccer, St-Onge said the organization’s governance review must be carried out by a third party and must examine its transparency, financial decision-making and governance structures.

The federal government gave the soccer organization $5 million in the fiscal year ending December 2022, according to Canada Soccer’s latest audited financial statements.

The government wants to commission an independent audit of Canada Soccer’s finances covering the period from March 1, 2017 to March 31, 2023.

“This audit will seek to confirm that government funding has been allocated appropriately and in accordance with the terms and conditions of your contribution agreements,” St-Onge wrote in the letter to Canada Soccer Acting General Secretary Jason de Vos. .

The minister said her department plans to set up an external advisory group to help Canada Soccer act on the recommendations from its governance review and audit.

“With the arrival of the FIFA World Cup in North America in 2026, the spotlight will be on our country and I want to ensure that Canada Soccer implements the strongest governance practices to be a leader. responsible,” St-Onge wrote in the letter to Canada Soccer.

SHOW/Canada Soccer executives quizzed over treatment of women’s team

Canada Soccer executives quizzed over treatment of women’s team

Canada Soccer executives were quizzed by MPs on their treatment of the women’s soccer team in Ottawa on Thursday. An executive said he apologized to Christine Sinclair after she called him out for using sexist language to recall a conversation.

St-Onge forced Hockey Canada to abide by similar terms in exchange for taxpayers’ money following intense public scrutiny of his handling of sexual assault allegations.

According to its latest audited financial statements, Canada Soccer spent nearly $54 million and generated only about $48 million in revenue in 2022. Of that, $19 million went to men’s teams and about 14 million to women’s teams, the funding statement said.

Soccer Canada has also faced criticism from women’s and men’s teams over a controversial trade deal struck in 2018.

The soccer organization agreed to outsource a decade of sponsorship and broadcast contracts to a private company called Canada Soccer Business. In exchange, the company pays Canada Soccer $3-4 million a year, along with “certain other payments”, according to the organization’s latest audited financial statements.

In a statement released in February, the men’s national team said “the organization’s major sources of revenue have largely been diverted” to CSB, which are the “owners of professional minor league football teams at profit-making”.

Newly elected Canada Soccer president Charmaine Crooks told MPs on the Canadian heritage committee earlier this month that she saw an “opportunity to reset” the organization and “modernize” the 2018 deal with Canada Soccer Business.

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