Home Canadian Soccer FIFA has power to suspend CSA if women boycott World Cup

FIFA has power to suspend CSA if women boycott World Cup

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If the women’s national team continues to boycott games into the 2011 Women’s World Cup, FIFA has laws in place that would allow it to fine and suspend the Canadian Soccer Association.

According to the official regulation book of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, a national association is fined 15,000 Swiss Francs (about CDN$15,575) if a team that qualified for the tournament withdraws more than 30 days out of the kickoff of the first game. If the withdrawal happens after the 30-day countdown has begun, the fine increases to 20,000 Swiss Francs (about CDN$21,000).

But, if the women bail out on their tournament-opening match with Germany, the CSA could face a suspension from FIFA.

“Depending on the circumstances of the withdrawal, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee may impose additional sanctions, including the suspension of the Participating Member Association concerned from subsequent FIFA competitions,” states the 2011 rulebook. “Any Participating Member Association that withdraws before the start of the final competition may be replaced by another association. The FIFA Organising Committee shall decide on the matter at its sole discretion.”

But the fine and suspension aren’t the only charges facing a national association that bails out of the tournament. FIFA can demand more compensation.

“Depending on circumstances and the decision of the FIFA Organising Committee… any Participating Member Association that withdraws may be ordered to reimburse FIFA and the Organising Association for any costs and expenses already incurred as a result of its involvement in the final competition, and may also be obliged to pay compensation for any damages or losses incurred.”

The women’s team has stated it will boycott all games, including upcoming friendly tournament games and including World Cup games if need be, unless the CSA can find a way to satisfy coach Carolina Morace’s demands. What those demands are… well that’s not exactly clear. Greater control over the program, better compensation for players, more money spent on developing the team — those items are all in the rumour mill, but other than the pledge of a boycott, we have not seen a definitive list of demands made public by Morace and her players.

Morace has pledged to resign at the end of the World Cup, but that threat has been rendered moot by the boycott.

For the moment, CONCACAF would not take action against the CSA if the women forfeit upcoming matches. According to CONCACAF spokesman Ben Spencer: “A suspension from CONCACAF is extremely unlikely as there are no CONCACAF matches coming up that involve the Canadian women’s team. If they boycott exhibition matches or friendly tournaments, it would be the CSA’s job to take action. If it reached as far as the Women’s World Cup this summer, it would be FIFA’s job to make a decision but naturally, that’s a long way away.”

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