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Why pfa canada

Since the formation of the CPL, players have repeatedly raised concerns about the minimal opportunities they have had to make their voices heard on matters affecting their conditions on and off the pitch.  made that clearer than the COVID 19 pandemic crisis.  As the industry struggled to make sense of the impact of the pandemic upon the game, leading stakeholders came together to devise ways to mitigate the loss of revenue and create a safe return-to-play.


On 7 April 2020, FIFA sent out a bulletin to its member associations, leagues and clubs urging them to consult with players through their unions if any changes to players’ wages and conditions were being considered. 


Here in Canada, exactly seven days later, the CPL, without any prior consultation, deferred players’ wages by 25 percent which, in the end, became permanent. All of these decisions were made without any player consultation. The CPL’s comfort with taking such action despite FIFA’s strong recommendation to sit down with players’ representatives, is what truly set in motion PFA Canada’s fight for recognition.

However, the league’s failure to consider the views of players wasn’t limited to just wage cuts. During return-to-play planning for the “bubble-city” 2020 and 2021 seasons, players were never adequately – if at all – consulted regarding accommodations, food, travel, post-match recovery facilities and COVID 19 testing protocols.


For much of the 2021 Winnipeg “bubble”, a record-breaking heat wave and poor air quality due to forest fires in Western Canada made conditions on and off-the-pitch difficult for players. Players expressed concern that on-the-pitch temperatures could lead to injuries and other heat-related problems. Moreover, players were frustrated they were unable to make their views known because without formal union representation the fear of retaliation was always top of mind.


Finally, as the league developed and implemented its COVID 19 testing program, PFA Canada became additionally concerned – and remains so today – with the collection, use and storage of player health data. We maintain that players must be included in any processes involving information related to their physical and psychological well-being. 


COVID aside, the life of a professional footballer is already precarious. There are only so many roster spots  and it’s a short career with even shorter contracts. The constant threat of career-ending injuries, loss of form, or even a change in manager which can lead to being out of contract, all have the ability to  negatively impact players’ emotional and financial well-being. 


In the end, players deserve dignity and respect in their lives on and off the field. By standing together through PFA Canada, players can speak with one unified and amplified voice to address their legitimate concerns and take their rightful place within the industry and create the accountability, fairness and transparency that will enable them to flourish as athletes and people.

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