Canadian player’s union files $40m ‘negligence’ suit against Canada Soccer

February 22 – The Canadian Soccer Players’ Association, which represents the national women’s team, has filed a $40 million lawsuit against 15 current and former board members of Canada Soccer alleging “negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.”

At the heart of the lawsuit is the controversial 2018 agreement Canada Soccer signed with Canadian Soccer Business, which handed Canada Soccer’s marketing and sponsorship rights over to the CSB in exchange for an annual fee.

The lawsuit alleges the CSB deal “has created and continues to create serious risk to the ability of Canada Soccer to carry out its mandate.”

“The 2018 Canada Soccer board knew or should have known that the CSB agreement would, at best, deprive Canada Soccer of revenue that could be spent on development, and at worst, could compromise Canada Soccer’s ability to operate as a going concern,” says the lawsuit.

The lawsuit names the 2018 Canada Soccer board of directors, five of whom are still currently board members. Those named include current president Charmaine Crooks and former presidents Nick Bontis and Steven Reed.

“We have been made aware of a legal proceeding filed by the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association against the members of the 2018 Canada Soccer board,” said a Canada Soccer spokesman. “Our organization is currently seeking advice on this matter.”

The timing of the lawsuit is significant, coming on the eve of Canada’s opening game against El Salvador at the Concacaf W Gold Cup.

“I know news broke today but you wouldn’t have known that,” Canada coach Bev Priestman told a news conference in Houston when asked about the lawsuit. “That tells you that this team is currently focused on what’s in front of them.”

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