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Canadian Soccer Players' Association files $40M lawsuit against Canada Soccer board members: TSN

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A $40-million lawsuit has been filed by the Canadian Soccer Players' Association (CSPA) – the union representing players on the women's senior national team – against 15 current and former Canada Soccer board members, TSN reports.

A notice of application against Canada Soccer was filed by the CSPA in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto on Feb. 16, and a statement of claim against the 15 board members was filed in the same court on Feb. 20.

The statement of claim outlines the union's arguments for the board members' alleged negligence, while the notice of application is a request to the court to allow the CSPA to sue the board members on behalf of the federation.

In 2018, Canada Soccer board members signed an agreement with the private company Canadian Soccer Business (CSB) which gave Canada Soccer's marketing and sponsorship rights to the CSB in exchange for an annual fee.

The lawsuit alleges that the board members' deal breaches their fiduciary duty to Canada Soccer.

“Each of the 2018 Canada Soccer directors owed Canada Soccer a fiduciary duty... to act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of Canada Soccer,” the statement of claim says. “Instead of considering the best interests of Canada Soccer in approving the CSB Agreement, however, they focused on the best interests of CSB, a private, for-profit company.”

The defendants named in the lawsuit include Canada Soccer’s president from 2017 to 2020, Steve Reed, then vice-president of the federation from 2017 to 2020, Nick Bontis, and Canada Soccer's current president and board member since 2012, Charmaine Crooks.

“We have been made aware of a legal proceeding filed by the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association, against the members of the 2018 Canada Soccer Board,” a Canada Soccer spokesperson wrote in an email to TSN. “Our organization is currently seeking advice on this matter.”

The Canadian women's soccer team won the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and have qualified for the Paris Summer Games where they will have the chance to defend their title.

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