Nick Bontis resigned Monday as president of the Canadian Soccer Association, acknowledging change is needed to achieve labor peace with the men’s and women’s teams.
The move followed a letter from provincial and territorial soccer leaders asking Bontis to step down.
Earlier this month, the Canadian men asked for Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge to remove the Canada Soccer leadership if it was “not willing to take immediate action to respond to the players’ demands and concerns.”
Added the Canadian women: “If Canada Soccer is not willing or able to support our team, new leadership should be found.”
Although Bontis is out at Canadian soccer, his status is rising in international soccer politics. On Saturday, he was named a vice president for North America at continental soccer body CONCACAF — a four-year mandate that runs through the men’s World Cup in 2026 in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
“I acknowledge that this moment requires change,” Bontis said in a statement. “While I have been one of the biggest proponents of equalizing the competitive performance environment for our women’s national team, I will unfortunately not be leading this organization when it happens,”
Bontis was elected president in November 2020, succeeding Steven Reed. Before Reed, Canadian soccer was led by Victor Montagliani, who was re-elected Saturday as CONCACAF president in a role which makes him a FIFA vice president through 2027.
The men’s and women’s teams have demanded Canada Soccer open its books, including its agreement with Canadian Soccer Business, which arranges sponsorship and broadcast deals. CSB pays Canada Soccer a set amount each year and keeps the rest, which helps fund the Canadian Premier League.
The women want the same backing ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as the men received at their World Cup in Qatar last year. The two teams also want an explanation for why their programs are being cut this year.
Canada’s men refused to play a planned exhibition against Panama last June at Vancouver, British Columbia. The Canadian women played the SheBelieves Cup this month only after Canada Soccer threatened legal action.
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