Shelina Zadorsky: Canada players will not back down in federation dispute

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Tottenham and Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky has insisted her national team will not back down in its dispute with its own federation.

Canada’s women’s players announced on Friday they were going on strike over funding and governance issues that will compromise their ability to perform at this summer’s World Cup.

After talks took place over the weekend between the Canadian Soccer Players Association (CSPA) and Canada Soccer, it was confirmed on Sunday that strike action had been suspended but captain Christine Sinclair, who guided them to Olympics success in Tokyo in 2021, insisted they were “forced back to work” by legal threats.

It means Canada will compete in this week’s SheBelieves Cup and begin their campaign on Thursday against the United States but Spurs captain Zadorsky remained defiant.

“We’re on the biggest stage and want to prepare the best we possibly can, so we’re just asking for equal preparation to perform the best we can,” Zadorski said.

“Unfortunately we’re in a position where just for our own wellbeing and also financial wellbeing we as players are playing in the tournament.

“But we’ve taken a stand and we’re not going to back down from that. Obviously in hindsight to make a proper strike it needs to go through certain loopholes so I think we’ve learnt from that.

Canada Soccer issued its own statement not long after captain Sinclair’s sentiments and insisted it was committed to “addressing each of the demands made” but pointed out the squad were “not in a legal strike position under Ontario labour law.”

It meant the federation “took the necessary steps” to ensure the team played in the SheBelieves Cup.

Zadorsky added: “No one expected to get the responses that you’re going to be sued as a player by your own federation, so you don’t expect that.

“In hindsight anything legal needs to be well prepared, through lawyers etc, but we’re at a stage where I love playing for Canada, it’s my pride and joy and I’m proud to do so, but I want to play for an association that is looking to the future.

“The whole point is to inspire the next generation and leave the programme better than where we found it.

“So we’re going to fight for that and keep going with our demands. We also have the men’s national team’s support which is really good and we’re a top nation, we just want to prepare the best way we can.”

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