Canada's men's national soccer team went on a strike over player compensation ahead of a friendly against Panama on Sunday.
Westhead shared a copy of the letter outlining the players' requests, which includes a 40 percent share of World Cup prize money:
Rick Westhead @rwesthead
This is the "Dear Canada" letter released by Canada's national men's team players. <br>Asking for a review of Canada Soccer's broadcast & sponsorship contracts, 40% of World Cup qualification money, and a joint contract with the women's team with equal compensation for match fees. <a href="https://t.co/STazGyJ9MW">pic.twitter.com/STazGyJ9MW</a>
Canada Soccer confirmed the match has been canceled:
The timing of the news couldn't have been much worse for supporters who planned to attend the friendly.
Ben Steiner @BenSteiner00
📍BC Place, Vancouver<br><br>Some Canada fans already lining up outside and around bars in the area 2 hours before the scheduled kickoff.<br><br>Some not sure of the news… expect a lot more to show up, despite the cancellation. <br><br>BC Place security and operations fully set-up. <a href="https://t.co/tM0TXZUmND">pic.twitter.com/tM0TXZUmND</a>
In terms of pushing for meaningful change, the leverage for the men's national team has probably never been higher than it is now.
Whereas Canada's women's team has been a World Cup mainstay and sits sixth in the FIFA ranking, the men will be competing in their first World Cup since 1986 when they make the trip to Qatar later this year.
That has only raised expectations for Les Rouges in 2026, when Canada will be co-hosting the World Cup with Mexico and the United States.
The men's national team wrote how it hoped punching a ticket to the 2022 World Cup "would bring a level of respect and financial opportunity that could raise the standards & opportunities for the next generation of players in our country and change the trajectory of soccer in Canada forever."
The team also said that "Canada Soccer signed an agreement with Canadian Soccer Business that has completely compromised their ability to leverage the on-field success of our senior national teams."
Sunday's strike follows a similar dispute between the U.S. women's national team and U.S. Soccer. The women contended there was a wide gulf between their earnings and that of the men despite the USWNT winning back-to-back World Cups in 2015 and 2019.
The yearslong fight finally reached a conclusion in May, with U.S. Soccer signing collective bargaining agreements with the USMNT and USWNT that guaranteed equal pay, including uniform payouts from the World Cup.