Canada Soccer women

Canada Soccer still in the hotseat over pay equity and funding

PLUS some personal news as The 1st Half takes to the airwaves.

The Canadian women’s soccer team is embroiled in a significant legal dispute with Canada Soccer, stemming from issues of pay equity and funding.

The Canadian Soccer Players’ Association (CSPA), the union representing players on the women’s senior national team, has filed a $40-million lawsuit against 15 current and former Canada Soccer board members who signed a media and sponsorship contract in 2018 with the private company Canadian Soccer Business (CSB).

The CSPA filed a notice of application against Canada Soccer on Feb. 16 and a statement of claim against the 15 current and former board members on Feb. 20. Both documents were filed in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto.

The statement of claim lays out the CSPA’s arguments for the current and former board members’ alleged negligence.

Defendants include Steve Reed, who was Canada Soccer’s president from 2017–2020; Nick Bontis, who was a vice-president with the federation from 2017–2020 before becoming president; and Charmaine Crooks, who has been a board member since 2012 and is now Canada Soccer’s president.

This lawsuit comes against a backdrop of financial constraints that Canada Soccer claims are affecting both the men’s and women’s programs. Despite the success of both national teams, including the women’s team’s gold medal win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the men’s team qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 36 years, there have been extensive cuts across both programs. The players argue that soccer in Canada has never been more popular or successful, yet they are facing inadequate funding, which they believe threatens to reverse the progress made in Canadian soccer and push the sport back into obscurity.

Canada Soccer, in response to the lawsuit and the concerns raised by the players, has stated its commitment to resolving these issues, emphasizing that pay equity is at the core of ongoing negotiations with the players. A meeting was planned with the women’s national team to discuss these matters further, highlighting Canada Soccer’s desire to find a resolution not just for the women’s team but for soccer in Canada as a whole.

This legal battle and the issues at its heart reflect broader concerns in sports regarding gender equity and the allocation of resources. The outcome of this lawsuit and the ongoing negotiations could have significant implications for the future of soccer in Canada, potentially setting precedents for how sports organizations address gender equity and funding at a national level.

To the streaming world we know,  Apple TV+ has announced a ground-breaking “first-ever, all-access” documentary series that will delve deep into the 2024 season of Major League Soccer (MLS).

This eight-part docuseries is being brought to life by the award-winning Box To Box Films, known for their captivating sports documentaries like Formula 1: Drive to Survive and the surfing series Make or Break.  The series aims to provide a proper view of the MLS season, from preseason training to the intensity of the MLS Cup final, offering viewers an insider’s look at the league.

This project promises unprecedented access to players, coaches and teams, weaving through the season’s most compelling storylines, adrenaline-fuelled moments, and captivating personalities.

We have had a great taste of this with football docs All or Nothing, Welcome to Wrexham and Sunderland ‘Till I Die.

Apple’s collaboration with MLS on this documentary is part of a broader partnership that has already introduced innovations like the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, allowing fans to watch every match without blackouts across over 100 countries and regions.

This series is the latest endeavour to come from this partnership, which also includes the Messi Meets America series, further highlighting Apple TV+’s commitment to delivering high-quality soccer content.

On the local front some exciting news, TSN 690 Montreal and The 1st Half Culture Show have united to launch a unique soccer culture show on Fridays at 6 p.m. as of March 1. 

TSN 690 Montreal, the city’s leading sports radio authority, is teaming up with Canadian soccer culture web series and podcast The 1st Half to launch an exclusive three-month collaboration, bringing a weekly show that dives deep into the heart of soccer culture and community. 

This series, brought to you by Quincaillerie Notre-Dame, promises a local perspective on a worldwide phenomenon that’s gaining traction in Montreal and across North America as we fast approach United 2026.  

Hosted by me, myself, this guy Paul Desbaillets, the program brings together the soccer community with engaging and insightful discussions about the beautiful game with interviews with athletes and remarkable Montrealers.

Through a mix of radio broadcasts, social media interactions, online content, fan meet-ups, match viewing events and contests, the show promises to be a multi-platform experience, ensuring that soccer enthusiasts can engage with the content in a way that suits them best. ■

The 1st Half Culture Show Podcast will continue as always on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Podcasts and YouTube as well as on all our socials (IG, TikTok, X) @the1sthalf_

The 1st Half radio show airs on Fridays at 6PM ET on TSN Radio 690 Montreal, and via audio live stream on, the iHeartRadio Canada app and

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”


This article was originally published in the March 2024 issue of Cult MTL.

For more Montreal sports coverage, please visit our Sports section.