Team Canada: Soccer sponser offers support for women
GE Appliances says it is offering sponsorship money in hopes of resolving a labor impasse between Canada Soccer and the women’s national team.
The company sent a letter to Soccer Canada’s interim president Charmaine Crooks expressing its “deep concern” about the dispute between the two sides and said it was willing to provide $100,000 in “sponsorship activation funding expressly to support the women’s team program.”
The money is in addition to GE Appliances’ sponsorship of Canada Soccer.
“I think this dispute between Canada Soccer and the women’s national team has been going on for quite some time,” the brand’s CEO, Bob Park, told The Canadian Press. “We really wanted to be involved, to really be a positive force in football.
“We’re really in soccer for a big reason, and we want to be known as a true corporate supporter of the game in Canada. To do this we want to team up with a partner, in this case Canada Soccer, and we expect our brand values to be shared and they demonstrate those values in their actions.
“The last one was a little bit more of a challenge, so we wanted to offer some solutions.”
The move comes four days after Canada Soccer and the women’s team agreed in principle on an interim compensation deal for 2022.
The sides have been at loggerheads for some time since the women’s team went to work in February before quickly returning to action as Canada Soccer threatened legal action. The team participated in the SheBelieves Cup shortly after in protest.
Crooks was appointed interim president on March 1 following the resignation of Nick Bontis, acknowledging that “this moment calls for a change.”
With women saying more needs to be done to achieve labor peace and the Women’s World Cup in July, Park believes now is the time to address the issues.
“It’s time we all stood up for our sport and its players,” the letter said. “Our players and our teams have never seen more success. And the opportunity to grow the beautiful game in Canada has never been greater.”
Park, who said he has spoken with Soccer Canada general secretary Earl Cochrane about the financial offer and its targeting of the women’s team, hopes other sponsors can come on board to help.
“(It’s) really to encourage other sponsors or potential sponsors or current sponsors to come forward and come forward as well.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 6, 2023.
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