As the Canadian Premier League (CPL) season continues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a union initiative is gaining momentum among professional soccer players in Canada.
Atlético Ottawa’s goalkeeper Dylon Powley is one of the leading players.
“I’ve played in Sweden before and even at the lower level I played in Sweden there was still some kind of representation for the players,” Powley said in an interview with CBC’s All In A Day on Monday Radio.
“We don’t fight for something that is unreasonable.”
Efforts to form a union have been going on behind the scenes for months. It has recently become public as the players in the country’s top football league get louder.
Several players recently risked fines for wearing t-shirts on the field to show their support for the Canadian Professional Football Association (PFACan).
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Ottawa attorney Paul Champ is working with PFACan to gain certification as a players agent.
“An athletes union is like any other union for any other group of workers,” said Champ on All In A Day.
“You need a representation in common working conditions, common standards.”
Last year, CPL players took a 25 percent wage cut as pandemic restrictions prevented ticket sales and impacted other revenue streams. The league played a “bubble tournament” in Charlottetown, PEI, but no fans were allowed to participate.
The first part of the 2021 season has just ended – all eight teams played eight games each at IG Field in Winnipeg over a period of 25 days. The remainder of the schedule was announced two weeks ago and provides for teams to return to games at their home stadiums and travel to away games.
Powley said forming a union is not about raising salaries or securing perks.
“We are not fighting for higher wages. We’re not fighting for gourmet meals and the bubble, ”Powley told the Northern Tribune media company, which covers the CPL in depth.
“We’re fighting to have the regular season schedule published more than a week in advance so people can plan their lives.”
HEAR: Atlético Ottawa goalkeeper Dylon Powley interviewed for All In A Day
All in one day9:36A union campaign for the Canadian Premiere League players
League gives cold shoulder
Champ said some of the other topics CPL players may want to negotiate include how many games they are likely to play in a week, rules for drafting new players, and health and safety issues such as: B. when the temperature is too hot to play.
So far, however, Champ has said the CPL has refused to participate in the unionization effort.
“The Canadian Professional Football Association has represented individual players when they had problems or contractual disputes with the individual club,” said Champ.
“So we dealt with [the league] at this level. Especially when we come to the topic of trade union formation, we somehow hit a wall. “
CBC asked Atlético Ottawa to comment on the players’ union initiative. The team referred CBC to the league, but the league refused to comment.
Atlético Ottawa will play its first home game of the 2021 season at TD Place Stadium on August 14th. The tickets are provided according to the motto “Pay what you want”. (Alexander Behne / CBC News)
Champ said a union would benefit the league by providing a focal point for communication between the league and its players and a mechanism for representing players’ perspectives.
“Getting through the COVID pandemic has been a real challenge. And I think it would have been a lot easier for the league if there had been a union,” said Champ.
Atlético Ottawa will play their first home game at TD Place Stadium in Lansdowne Park on August 14th. The tickets are issued according to the motto “Pay what you want”.