Canada’s men’s soccer team has refused to play a scheduled World Cup warmup match against Panama amid a contract dispute between the players and the sport’s national governing body.

Canada Soccer confirmed the match, scheduled for Sunday at Vancouver’s B.C. Place, had been cancelled less than two hours before kickoff.

The Canadian players issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying they decided not to play the game because the negotiations over a new deal had been “unnecessarily prolonged.”

“It’s time we take a stand for the future of soccer in Canada,” the statement says.

The players say they want more transparency from Canada Soccer, an equitable compensation structure for the men’s and women’s teams, and World Cup compensation that includes 40 per cent of prize money and a “comprehensive friends and family package” for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The 38th-ranked Canadians are next scheduled to kick off CONCACAF Nations League play against No. 79 Curacao in Vancouver on June 9.

“We want to apologize to our fans,” the players said. “Playing at home with your support is everything to us. We hope Canada Soccer will take decisive steps to work with our team so we can be back on the field for our match [in Vancouver] on June 9.”

A pair of training sessions scheduled for Friday and Saturday had previously been scrapped.

Canada Soccer issued a statement late Saturday night saying it is “currently in discussions with their national team players pertaining to fair and equitable player compensation ahead of the FIFA World Cup period.”

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