Nick Bontis has resigned as President of Canada Soccer, saying a change is needed ©Canada Soccer

Nick Bontis has announced his resignation as head of Canada Soccer after failing to settle a pay dispute with the country’s men’s and women’s national teams.

Pressure has been growing on Bontis after the leaders of 13 provincial and territorial federations issued a letter urging him to stand down.

Players from Canada’s Olympic gold-medal winning women’s team had threatened to go on strike over cuts to the national programme before producing a U-turn after legal threats from Canada Soccer.

Participation in the invitational SheBelievesCup in the United States had been in doubt but the players called off the strike action after missing one day of training, with captain Christine Sinclair insisting that they had been “forced back to work”.

Canada's men's national team had also called for a change in leadership as they boycotted a friendly against Panama in June last year because of a dispute in which they sought an "equitable structure with our women's national team".

Bontis revealed that he had handed in his resignation letter to Canada's Board of Directors yesterday, admitting that a change was required.

"Canada Soccer and both of our national team programmes have the real potential to sign a historic collective bargaining agreement," said Bontis.

"Once signed, it will be a landmark deal that will set our nation apart from virtually every other FIFA member association.

Canada's women's team wore t-shirts with the message
Canada's women's team wore t-shirts with the message "enough is enough" after threatening to go on strike action over cuts to the national programme ©Getty Images

"While I have been one of the biggest proponents of equalising the competitive performance environment for our women’s national team, I will unfortunately not be leading this organisation when it happens.

"I acknowledge that this moment requires change."

His resignation comes with fewer than 18 months before Canada are due to defend their women’s football crown at Paris 2024.

Bontis was elected President of Canada Soccer in November 2020 having been a member of the governing body’s Board of Directors since 2012.

During his tenure, Canada women won Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020 and the men qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

"Serving as a volunteer for this organisation, and witnessing the tremendous achievements we’ve been able to accomplish together, has been some of the proudest moments of my life,” added Bontis.

"Olympic success for our women’s national team [at Tokyo 2020].

Canada's women's football team won Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020 during Bontis' tenure ©Getty Images
Canada's women's football team won Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020 during Bontis' tenure ©Getty Images

"Genuine diversity on our Board of Directors, including our first ever female vice-president.

"Our first men's FIFA World Cup goal at Qatar 2022.

"Winning the bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup at home.

"I know in my heart that there is more to come.

"I am and always will be a passionate fan of Canadian soccer and our players.

"We are in the midst of some of the most exciting times in our nation’s soccer history.

"I look forward to continuing to support our country, its players and our quest for greatness."