Canada Soccer could consider filing for bankruptcy protection, warns De Vos | Canada women’s football team

Canada Soccer’s internal problems have been highlighted once again after the body’s interim general secretary, Jason de Vos, said it may need to consider filing for bankruptcy protection.

“We are in a real struggle. It’s not imminent, but we need to explore what bankruptcy entails and how it might affect our organization,” De Vos told TSN. “We don’t have enough revenue coming in for the programs that need to be run, and that includes everything from grassroots coach education and referee development to youth national teams and our senior men’s and women’s teams.

“… [Bankruptcy] has been discussed, but not in the sense of this is a strategy or this is something that we’re looking at. It’s been discussed more from my own perspective to learn about it. It is absolutely the last option that I want to consider or even think about. But I would be remiss if I didn’t do my due diligence on this.”

According to TSN, Canada Soccer’s cash reserves were CA$2.4m at the end of 2022, down from CA$7.1m a year earlier. Canada Soccer has already been investigated by the Canadian parliament’s Heritage Committee because of poor governance and for failing to take allegations of abuse seriously. Earlier this year, the country’s minister for sport, Pascale St-Onge, ordered an audit into Canada Soccer because of a “lack of financial transparency.”

The news comes as Canada’s women’s team, the reigning Olympic champions, prepare for next month’s World Cup. The men’s team are currently competing in the Gold Cup in the United States.

De Vos, who captained the men’s team during his playing career, did not indicate the World Cup or Gold Cup campaigns are in jeopardy but said international games later this year are threatened. De Vos said the men’s team, which will co-host the World Cup in 2026, had already lost out on friendlies against Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The men’s team were also forced to fly economy class after their Concacaf Nations League match against the US earlier this month.

“In terms of them flying business class, it’s transatlantic flights only,” De Vos said. “We would love to be able to fly all of our players in business class on every flight, but we don’t have the resources to do that. It’s not that we’re saying, ‘You don’t deserve it, or you don’t need it.’ We can’t afford it.”

The men’s team reached their first World Cup since 1986 last year, but their coach, John Herdman, believes Canada Soccer’s troubles could have a negative effect on their preparations for 2026.

“We brought a World Cup to our country and we’re not serious about winning it,” Herdman said earlier this month. “We’ve got to get real, and quick … It’s not a secret the organization has been suffering financially. Even through the World Cup qualification and your head coach is raising money to make sure we’ve got charter flights [and] security on those charter flights. We’ve the best generation of players we’ve had and there’s more coming. You can see it … We’ve got to figure this out financially.”

The women’s team went on strike earlier this year over pay equity issues and budget cuts. Canada Soccer has been in negotiations with the men’s and women’s senior teams about a new collective bargaining agreement but a deal has yet to be struck.

“I still think of myself as a player, and I want the national teams to know that I’m on their side,” De Vos said. “I need for them to understand we only have so much money and there’s only so much we can give them. I don’t want to have to take money from programming resources to provide more compensation. I know the players understand that, but they also want what they feel they deserve.”

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