Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all had a good week and are settling in for some time off.
The dramatic start to the week vis a vis the Canadian National Team has petered out. As I type this, they are facing off against Curacao in the CONCACAF Nations League just days after going on strike and forcing the cancellation of the friendly against Panama on Sunday.
There is not yet a contract agreement between players and the federation, and it appears to very much be a “depends on who you ask” situation. There were some indications of positive talks and then the players were discussing the hiring of legal representation — never a good thing (trust me, I cover politics as a day job).
I am not at all an expert on these dealings and I was surprised at the polarization in the comments on Monday regarding who is right and who is wrong in this case.
In the interest of full disclosure, I almost always am partial to the players in these types of disputes. The historic qualification for the World Cup came about because of them (as did the Olympic gold medal) and that deserves to be rewarded.
The incompetence of Canada Soccer has been a rather brazen attempt to bungle all of the goodwill that has been gained with the sport over the last couple of years. Nick Bontis is getting deservedly raked over the coals and it seems that you all are almost attempting to one-up the U.S. Soccer Federation which is ... impressive.
I mean, it is international soccer and by international soccer the incompetence hasn’t even scratched the surface of FIFA or UEFA but still, it has marred what otherwise should be a celebratory and anticipatory mood.
Regardless of where you land on this, the whole ordeal could have been avoided with a better sense of timing, probably on both sides. And the lack of transparency to disclose media rights windfall is unbecoming, though sadly the norm in international soccer.
As if to pile on, it appears only two Canadian cities (Toronto an Vancouver) will serve as hosts for the 2026 World Cup, a blow to Edmonton, which was apparently passed over in favor of another U.S. city.
June 16th FIFA will be making its announcement of host cities for the 2026 World Cup. Sounds like the two Canadian cities will be Vancouver and Toronto. Edmonton is out.— Irfaan Gaffar (@irfgaffar) June 9, 2022
I would’ve been perfectly happy seeing a game in Edmonton — Commonwealth was packed when the Canadian National Team has played there and I have to think they would have been as good of an option as Denver, Cincinnati or another second-tier U.S. city. More remote, sure, but it would have ensured a bit more equity in representation.
All this doesn’t help with Canada’s image as the Rodney Dangerfield of CONCACAF — they can’t get no respect, at least off the pitch. On the pitch? They dispatched Curacao 4-0, including a goal from Lucas Cavallini in front of a not-too-full BC Place.
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A CPL team could be headed to Saskatoon sometime in the next couple of years
The sentencing for former Whitecaps coach Bob Birarda began earlier this week. The Crown is seeking a three-year sentence