At the Women's World Cup, did the Canadian women's team's unhappiness affect their performance?


On July 28, 2023, the Canadian Women’s soccer team announced it had reached an interim labour agreement with Canada Soccer. The agreement covers compensation for 2023, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The announcement of the deal was not a cause for celebration for the Canadian team. A press statement made on behalf of the team suggested they had been forced to make difficult choices due to the financial constraints of Canada Soccer. These choices include deciding between receiving compensation and funding for training camps. The team expressed displeasure at having to make these choices and agree to an interim deal that is not satisfactory.

At the time of the announcement of its interim deal with Canada Soccer, the Canadian team was still participating in the Women’s World Cup. However, just three days later, the players exited the competition after suffering a 4-0 defeat to Australia. So, did the frustration over the lengthy negotiations with Canada Soccer and the disappointing interim deal contribute to this early exit?

 “It’s difficult to know exactly how much the lack of a more comprehensive deal affected the team. However, if you look at pretournament betting, Canada was +200 to finish top of group B. So, an exit at this stage was unexpected. Therefore, it’s possible that the furore regarding the deal had an adverse impact.” quoting an expert from

It’s also worth mentioning that those involved with the Canadian team expressed their disappointment when the deal was announced. This disappointment would have made it difficult to concentrate on playing despite the players’ stated intention to do so. The controversial interim deal that may have impacted the Canadian team’s performance at the Women’s World Cup ensures equal pay for the men’s and women’s teams “at minimum.” However, the terms of the deal also include the phrase "within the constraints created by Canada Soccer's financial situation." This phrase is concerning, given that Canada Soccer is in severe financial trouble and is potentially about to file for bankruptcy.

In addition, despite the interim agreement, both the women’s and men’s teams have stated that there are more important items to still be settled. Both teams want fair and equal treatment as well as agreements about future investment in Canadian soccer.

The labour disputes involving the men’s and women’s soccer teams and Canada Soccer have been ongoing for more than a year. In fact, the women’s team has not had a deal in place since the previous one expired at the end of 2021.

There has been a lot of tension between the teams and Canada Soccer, which was shown by the statement released by the men’s team that accused Canada Soccer of trying to use the pressure of the Women’s World Cup to force through an inadequate compensation deal. The statement also referred to the fact that the men’s team had not been paid out following its own World Cup that took place in December 2022.  

It went on to refer to the fact that Canada Soccer wants to keep around 70% of the combined World Cup prize money for both the men’s and women’s teams. Proposals from the teams are that Canada Soccer could retain between $8.9 million and $14.1 million from the combined prize pools.

This statement from the men’s team was made just before the Canadian Women’s Team exited the Women’s World Cup. It was backed up by members of the women’s team, who declared that the labour dispute was not over but that they wanted to concentrate on soccer for the remainder of the competition. Now that its World Cup involvement is complete, the Canadian women’s team will continue its fight for fair treatment and investment in Canadian soccer and will continue to be joined in this fight by the Canadian men’s team.

Given the precarious financial position of Canada Soccer, it remains to be seen what more can happen. The fight will certainly be interesting to follow.