Denmark cancels World Cup qualifier against Sweden
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A pay dispute involving the Danish women’s national team has forced the country’s soccer federation to cancel a World Cup qualifying match against Sweden.
The DBU said Wednesday it has informed UEFA and FIFA and “expects now a disciplinary decision,” including being excluded from 2019 World Cup qualifying.
The match had been scheduled for Friday in Goteborg. The federation had set a Wednesday morning deadline for the women’s side to come back to the table.
“Many things are dividing us,” DBU spokesman Kim Hallberg told Denmark’s TV2.
In Sweden, the country’s national soccer federation said its women would continue to prepare for the match hoping it would eventually take place.
“It is a really special situation in which we never have been before,” Swedish federation general secretary Hakan Sjostrand said.
The DBU said it had offered to increase the annual investment to the women’s team by 2 million kroner ($316,000) to 4.6 million kroner ($727,000) to be used on higher salaries, among other things.
In September, the DBU canceled a friendly rematch of the Women’s European Championship final between Denmark and the Netherlands after wage talks collapsed. The Netherlands beat Denmark 4-2 to win its first European women’s title. Denmark knocked out six-time defending champion Germany in the quarterfinals and reached its first final after losing in five previous semifinals.
After cancelling the friendly, the two sides reached a partial agreement, allowing the women to play a World Cup qualifier against Hungary. However, differences between the DBU and the Danish Football Players’ Association remain. It was uncertain whether the Danish side would play Croatia on Tuesday in another World Cup qualifier.
In neighboring Norway, the soccer association became the first national federation to say their women’s team will now be paid the same as their men’s side.
In April, the U.S. women’s team struck a new collective bargaining agreement with its federation, ending more than a year of at times contentious negotiations, with players seeking comparable compensation to the men’s team.
UEFA, which is responsible for European qualifying games for the women’s World Cup, said any disciplinary case could only be opened after Friday’s match date.
World Cup regulations allow for punishments including disqualification — wiping previous Denmark results from the group — withholding of payments from TV rights and paying compensation to opponents.
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report