Women's National Soccer Team Members Suspend Boycott

But players to file for arbitration next week on compensation issue

TORONTO, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - Members of the Canada's Women's National Team have lifted their boycott as a result of progress made by the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) toward resolving issues with their coach, Carolina Morace, and keeping her at the helm of the team well beyond this year's World Cup.

Canada's women, who have been training in Rome, will return to the pitch tomorrow (Saturday) in Cyprus for a 'friendly' match versus South Korea, part of their preparations for the Cyprus Cup tournament which begins March 2 with Canada facing Scotland.

"We are excited about returning to the field as these are important games in preparing for the World Cup in June. As always, it is an honour and a privilege to represent our country and our Coach, who has done so much for our team and for women's soccer in Canada," said midfielder Rhian Wilkinson, speaking on behalf of the Canadian women's team.

Earlier this month, members of the women's team had insisted the CSA use its best efforts to resolve any outstanding issues with Coach Morace so that she would remain with the team.  Morace had planned to resign late this summer due to several outstanding issues, which, in turn, sparked the boycott by players in support of her.

The compensation issue - designed to ensure equality in how Canadian Men's and Women's National Team players are paid - remains unresolved. Lawyers representing the Women's National Team will file for arbitration next week with the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada unless the CSA shares information the Women's Team has been requesting since early January to move the issue forward.

"We have repeatedly advised the CSA that we cannot resolve the compensation issue until it shares with the Women's team the funding formula in place for the Men's team. Despite repeated requests, and our agreement to keep information shared with us confidential, we have not been provided information explaining the arrangements in place with the Men's team. Unless we're provided with this information we'll be filing for arbitration next week," said lawyer James Bunting of Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg LLP, which is handling the case on a pro-bono basis.

This year, Women's Team members dedicate themselves full-time to the national program in preparation for the FIFA Women's World Cup, June 26-July 17 in Germany. They currently receive approximately $1,500 per month in regular funding from Sport Canada, or $18,000 a year.

In contrast to the Canadian women's team, the U.S. national women's team signed a six-year compensation agreement (2006-2012) that sets out a payment system equivalent to the way the American men's national team is paid.

Canada's Women's National Team had an 11-game winning streak end Jan. 23, 2011, and is ranked 9th in the world. Canada's men's team is ranked 80th.

SOURCE Canadian Women's National Soccer Team

For further information:

TO ARRANGE PLAYER INTERVIEWS CONTACT:

Bill Walker, General Manager, Fleishman-Hillard Canada

(O) 416-645-8199; (C) 416-451-2809

bill.walker@fleishman.ca

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