TORONTO — Canada Soccer's recent revised compensation proposal to its players is a sign of progress but a deal has yet to be reached, says Canadian international Mark-Anthony Kaye.
"There are some improvements in it. On other aspects, it was relatively the same. Just different language being used," said the Toronto FC midfielder.
Kaye is no stranger to labour negotiations, given he is on the Major League Soccer Players Association executive board. But he says the players are leaving the talks to their legal counsel.
"Especially when it's getting around crunch time. We don't really want to be dealing with that kind of stuff on an individual level for the players," he said.
Canada Soccer made the offer in late September with general secretary Earl Cochrane calling it a "comprehensive compensation offer'' for both the Canadian men and women. He declined to share details.
Canada Soccer's previous offer was made in late June. The players answered in late August.
The Canadian men have formed a players association (the Canadian Men's National Soccer Team Players Association) as compensation negotiations continued, following the lead of the women's team, which is represented by the Canadian Soccer Players Association (CSPA).
The new association covers players who have been called into any men's national team camp since January 2021.
The hope is the impasse can be resolved by the Nov. 20 start of the World Cup in Qatar. But both sides have said there are issues that could be resolved post-Qatar.
Two issues of immediate concern are the split of tournament prize money and help provided to players' friends and family looking to go to the tournament.
Kaye says he is working on finalizing the travel details of his friends and family.
"Obviously it's a stress. But Canada Soccer is doing, I think, more than what a lot of countries are doing for their players in terms of the friends and family package," said Kaye. "It's just about getting it finalized and getting across the line in terms of making sure all the little details feel good for the players and also for Canada Soccer.
"But they are working hard to get that done. They've made huge improvements on the friends and family package."
Canadian fullback Richie Laryea is also working on travel plans for those close to him.
"I'm narrowing all that down now, just seeing who I can bring and what that looks like," said Laryea, currently on loan to Toronto from England's Nottingham Forest. "So hopefully I'll have that sorted in a little bit like the rest of the guys on the team."
The Canadian men, currently ranked 41st in the world, open World Cup play Nov. 23 against second-ranked Belgium. After Belgium, Canada plays No. 12 Croatia on Nov. 27 and No. 22 Morocco on Dec. 1 in Group F play.
Dissatisfaction over the state of negotiations caused the Canadian men to boycott a planned friendly against Panama in June in Vancouver, citing "unnecessarily prolonged'' negotiations over a new contract.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2022
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press