Canada's players refuse to play Panama friendly

 Canadian professional soccer player Alphonso Boyle Davies [REUTERS]

Canada's men's soccer team has pulled out of a friendly with Panama that was due to take place on Sunday, citing a dispute with the Canadian football association over financial compensation and other matters, according to broadcaster CTV.

Because of the dispute, the team has refused to train in recent days, saying in a letter quoted by CTV that "Canada soccer has disrespected our team and jeopardized our efforts to raise the standards and effectively advance the game in Canada."

The letter outlines a number of issues, including a demand for more transparency, better leadership and a 40% share of World Cup prize money to be allocated to players.

"We hope Canada Soccer will take decisive steps to work with our team so we can be back on the field for our match on June 9," the letter said, adding an apology to Canadian and Panamanian fans.

Some fans showed up to the game unaware that it had been cancelled less that two hours before it was scheduled to begin.

Canada Soccer President Nick Bontis told a news conference that he was "very disappointed" with the players' decision. They had received a fair offer, he said.

"Canada Soccer has been working with the players in good faith to find a path forward that is fair and equitable to all. We would like to have a facts-based discussion within the fiscal reality that Canada Soccer has to live with every day.

"We remain ready and available to continue to work immediately with the players toward our collective goal of performing at our best as we approach Qatar." 


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