Soccer-Canada returns to practice after refusing to play Panama over contract dispute

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Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup Soccer-Canada at Martinique

(Reuters) - The Canadian men's national soccer team said on Monday it will return to training after refusing to play a friendly against Panama over stalled contract negotiations with Canada Soccer.

Just two hours prior to kickoff on Sunday in Vancouver the Canadian men informed Canada Soccer they would not play the friendly, demanding changes to their compensation agreement including a bigger slice of World Cup prize money for players.

Qatar marks just the second time Canada has qualified for the World Cup and the first since 1986.

"Canada Soccer senior leaders and the Men's National Team players met on Sunday night to continue the negotiation process. The players will train this afternoon (Monday) with future meetings scheduled toward a resolution," Soccer Canada said in a statement on their official Twitter account.

In letter obtained by all-sport network TSN the players outlined a long list of demands, including a 40% share of World Cup prize money and a "comprehensive friends and family package" for Qatar.

The players also called for an equitable compensation package for Canada's national women's team and the development of a domestic women's league.

With negotiators back at the table players returned to the field on Monday to continue their preparations for Qatar but made it clear in a letter that no deal had been reached.

Canada is scheduled to play Curacao in a CONCACAF Nations League match at Vancouver's BC Place Stadium on Thursday.

"The players have met with the senior leaders of Canada Soccer on Sunday evening and will continue the negotiation process, but questions have yet to be answered and actions have yet to be taken," said the players.

"We move forward in hopes that Canada Soccer will work with us to resolve the situation."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Richard Pullin)

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