Canada Soccer settles deal with Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Davies

Finally, some tangible progress on the labour front with the Canadian men’s soccer team.

Canada Soccer has come to terms on an agreement with Alphonso Davies, its marquee man, on name/image likeness rights, according to a source.

The deal just needs final signatures, according to the source who requested anonymity because the agreement has yet to be announced.

Davies became the latest hot spot between Canada Soccer and its players last week when it was reported that Davies’ representative had told Fanatics, which runs Canada Soccer’s merchandise website and sells licensed sports goods, that it no longer had permission to sell Davies’ jersey because the governing body does not have an agreement to market the Bayern Munich fullback’s likeness and image.

Canada Soccer general secretary Earl Cochrane, who confirmed that Davies representative Nick Huoseh had asked for the jersey to be removed, said the governing body has been in talks with the Davies camp for several weeks about a name and image likeness deal.

Name and image likeness rights have been an issue in labour talks between Canada Soccer and the players ahead of the World Cup, Davies’ jersey is by far the biggest-seller among the Canadian men.

“National team players have never received royalties from jersey sales, and they should,” Nick Huoseh told TSN. “We only want what’s fair and they absolutely can and should do this.”

Canada Soccer’s initial understanding had been that such rights would lie with the newly formed Canadian men’s player association. But Davies’ rights actually belong to a third-party company, Davies’ own AD 19 Inc.

Parallel discussions on name and image rights are ongoing with the men’s players association.

Dissatisfaction over the state of labour negotiations caused the Canadian men to boycott a planned friendly against Panama in June in Vancouver, citing “unnecessarily prolonged” negotiations over a contract with Canada Soccer.

The Canadian men subsequently 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.

With negotiations also ongoing with the Canadian women, the decision was made to come up with an equal agreement for both men and women.

“The reality is that we’ve only started really utilizing this success of our men’s national team over the last six to eight months. [That] is when we started selling the jerseys and the personalized name and number T- [shirts],” said Cochrane.

Players like Davies, Jonathan David (Lille, France), Milan Bojan (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), and Tajon Buchanan and Cyle Larin (Club Brugge, Belgium) are also playing on big European stages these days.

“We’ve never had a written contract with the men as it relates to name/image likeness,” Cochrane said in an interview. “We have had with the women. We’ve had a finalized collective bargaining agreement with the women for the better part of 10 years.