Bayern Munich and Canada Soccer star Alphonso Davies’ shirt is no longer available for sale as the 21-year-old is embroiled in an image rights battle with the organisation. (Getty Images)

The FIFA World Cup is only a month away, and while Canadian soccer fans have a lot to look forward to on the pitch, things are tense around Canada Soccer.

On Friday, TSN’s Rick Westhead reported that Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies’ agent Nick Huoseh told Fanatics – the largest licensed sporting goods online retailer – in September that he would not was no longer authorized to sell Canada jerseys bearing Davies’ name and number. the back.

“National team players have never received royalties from shirt sales, and they should,” Huoseh told Westhead. “We only want what’s right and they absolutely can and should do that.”

It was not the first time that Huoseh has expressed his dissatisfaction with the use of his client’s image rights in Canada Soccer’s marketing and sponsorship campaigns, also turning down a Gatorade spot which was to feature Davies alongside other Canadian men’s and women’s soccer stars, according to Westhead’s report. Huoseh reportedly informed Canada Soccer’s marketing director, Sandra Gage, that “no company other than those with which Davies has personal agreements has permission to use his likeness in any advertisement.”

Both Huoseh and Davies support the Canadian Men’s National Team Players’ Association, which was recently formed to broker a new deal between the team and Canada Soccer.

The players’ association also warned the organization that sponsors will not be allowed to use players’ images and rights without their permission. This is the first time in recent memory that Canadian soccer players have taken control of their imagery rights, according to Westhead.

These are just the latest developments in the months-long feud that culminated in a players’ strike in June, when the team refused to play a friendly against Panama in Vancouver. The players announced their decision to strike in a letter shared on social media, in which they also made public demands including equal revenue sharing between the men’s and women’s teams and 40% of the prize money earned for their place. in the World Cup as compensation.

Canada Soccer’s contract with an obscure company called Canada Soccer Business (CSB) is the biggest concern for the players, who were told in June that the organization could not pay their bonuses to qualify for the World Cup because CSB was siphoning off too much of their revenue, Westhead reported.

He also reports that the deal between CSB and Canada Soccer requires CSB to pay a fee to Canada Soccer in exchange for the ability to sell the broadcast and marketing rights for the men’s and women’s national teams. CSB also owns the right to retain any revenue it makes from the sale of those sponsorships and media rights, Westhead adds.

The players also showed their frustration with the kit they will be wearing in Qatar, as Canada are one of only two nations – along with Tunisia – out of the 32 qualifying teams not to have new shirts for the tournament. .

Star striker Jonathan David protested the move by covering the Nike logo on his chest as he celebrated a goal in a 2-0 friendly win over Qatar in September.

Following the backlash on the pitch and fans online, Nike released a statement explaining the decision, saying: “Canada’s 2022 kit will be the same kit the team has worn for the past year, as Canada Soccer is on a different kit development cycle. “

“I’m not a fan of it, to be honest,” Canadian defender Sam Adekugbe told The Athletic. “I just feel like every team should have a new kit for the World Cup because it’s a symbolic event. I don’t hate it, but I wish I had a new kit, just because it is something to cherish.

As Davies and Co prepare for the country’s second appearance at the World Cup, and the first since 1986, fans tuning in from home are hoping the strained relationship between the players and Canada Soccer will not create a distraction leading to one of the most exciting events. events in the history of Canadian sport.

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