Ian Wright delivered a passionate speech about equity in women’s football after discussing the Canadian national team’s recent protests.
The players appeared in front of a parliamentary committee on Thursday to discuss how they feel they have been mistreated by Canada Soccer.
Captain Christine Sinclair was joined by teammates Janine Beckie, Sophie Schmidt and Quinn to voice their concerns and frustrations.
What did Ian Wright say?
Speaking on his podcast, Wrighty’s House, Wright spoke about the lack of attention and care a lot of women’s national teams are receiving right now.
The Arsenal legend slammed the lack of “transparency” and referred to Sinclair stressing how little communication the players have with Canada Soccer.
“They don’t know anything, they don’t know where the money comes, they don’t know where the money goes,” he said.
“You know, when you read the situation of the training facilities — the fact that they’ve got coaches having to train with them to make up numbers. This is an elite football team… you just think to yourself, what is going on?
“Again, it comes back down to people who are running things. They’re not good at what they’re doing, they’re poor at their job, and so what’s going to happen is it is all going to just come apart.”
Other national sides have also taken stances against issues behind the scenes.
Corinne Diacre was recently sacked as manager of the French women’s team, following a series of statements from high profile players, including Wendie Renard.
The France and Lyon captain stated she has stepped away from international duties and will not be competing at the World Cup this summer.
Renard wrote that she could “no longer endorse the current system” and was swiftly followed by similar statements from teammates Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani.
“It is up to people like us to keep the message going, because otherwise they just think ‘okay, let’s just keep going, let’s just see it out,’” Wright continued.
“No, we can’t let these people see it out, and I hope that the women just fight on.
“Well, I say I hope they fight on — I hope they can just play football without having to fight all the time.”
What is happening with Canada’s equal pay fight?
The Canadian players who attended the meeting in Parliament gave a testimony which lasted just under two hours, beginning with Sinclair outlining how the players’ concerns had been addressed by former Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis.
“On a personal note, I’ve never been more insulted than I was by Canada Soccer’s own president, Nick Bontis, last year, as we met with him to discuss our concerns,” Sinclair said.
“The president of Canada Soccer listened to what I had to say and then later in the meeting referred back to it as, ‘What was it Christine was b****ing about?’”
Bontis recently resigned from his role after facing backlash.
Video: Janine Beckie speaks during Canada’s meeting with Parliament
Schmidt also said it feels very much like the women’s team is treated as an “afterthought.”
Prior to their Parliament meeting, Canada were forced to continue playing and training after their plans to strike were met with threats of legal action.
The players stressed they were participating in the SheBelieves Cup out of protest, and made a statement by training in unbranded and inside-out gear, to avoid showing the branding.