Alphonso Davies’ Agent Tells Canada Soccer to Stop Selling Jerseys with Player’s Name

As a dispute between Canada Soccer and Canadian men’s national team players over their contract rages on, the agent for Bayern Munich left back and Canadian star Alphonso Davies has told the governing body to stop selling his client’s jerseys.

As reported by TSN’s Rick Westhead on Friday, Davies’ agent Nick Huoseh advised Fanatics — which runs Canada Soccer’s online store — in late September that it no longer has permission to sell jerseys with Davies’ name on the back because Canada Soccer has not negotiated the right to market the player’s name and image.

Courtesy World Soccer Shop

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

A search of CanadaSoccerStore.com Friday afternoon turned up only one result: a women’s T-shirt with Davies’ name and the number 19 on the back. It’s not clear, though, if this is a result of Huoseh’s notification or supply issues that have been plaguing Canada Soccer for some time.

In late August, on behalf of his client, Huoseh also rejected a proposal from Soccer Canada to feature Davies in a Gatorade commercial. At the time, he told Canada Soccer officials that only companies Davies has personal deals with — including Bank of Montreal and Nike — have permission to use his image in advertising.

Davies isn’t the only player to stand up to Canada Soccer recently, Westhead reports. He also notes that the Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team Players Association has hired California-based sports marketing firm Brevettar to explore licensing possibilities. That firm has also notified Canada Soccer that federation sponsors are not allowed to use the likenesses of national team players without first negotiating permission.

Canada Soccer has responded saying that sponsors have used group images of national team players in the past and should be allowed to do so going forward.

This situation jeopardizes Canada Soccer’s ability to capitalize on the country’s first World Cup qualification since 1986.

“It’s tragic. We are strangling ourselves,” said a Canada Soccer source who spoke to TSN on the condition of anonymity. “Sponsors are paying millions for deals to align with Canada Soccer and are being told they can’t use the most marketable players in their ads. There’s a complete breakdown in our partner and sponsor ecosystem… While no one is walking away yet, no one is happy about this, either.”

Courtesy TSN

These are the latest salvos in a battle between men’s national team players and Canada Soccer over a new contract. In June 2022, Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis told players that the federation wouldn’t be able to pay them the bonus they’d asked for after qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar. Bontis allegedly told them that he inherited a contract with Canada Soccer Business (CSB) — a company jointly controlled by Canadian Premier League owners — when he became president in November 2020 was eating up too much revenue.

Under the terms of the contract, which runs from 2019 to 2027, CSB pays Canada Soccer between $3 million and $3.5 million per year for the right to sell broadcasting and corporate sponsorships for the men’s and women’s national teams. CSB keeps any revenue generated from those sales.

Westhead also reports that, as recently as the last World Cup qualifying cycle, Canada Soccer has directed senior national team players and staff to give back Nike tops, pants and polo shirts they were given for training sessions so they can be washed and handed down to junior teams.

“It’s not great when you are asking Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David and our other star players to please give back their sweats,” the Canada Soccer source told TSN. “It’s bush league.”

At the same time, though, Westhead reports that Canada Soccer also spent more than $11,000 on 14 new suits for board members at a Montreal menswear store, and paid for Bontis to fly business class from a family vacation in Greece to Vancouver this past summer to take part in the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Canadian Championship medal ceremony — despite the fact other federation officials were already scheduled to attend.


UPDATE (Tuesday, October 25, 2022): Rick Westhead, who initially reported this story for TSN, tweeted today that Alphonso Davies and his agent have reached a deal to allow Canada Soccer and Fanatics to resume selling his jersey. Davies will be the first Canadian national team player to receive royalties for the sales of jerseys bearing his name.