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Lawsuit filed over planned use of artificial turf at 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Lawsuit filed over planned use of artificial turf at 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
October 3, 2014

A leading group of international women footballers have followed through on their threat to bring legal action against world football governing FIFA over its refusal to alter its stance on the use of artificial turf at its 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Players including US internationals Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, Germany’s Nadine Angerer, Brazil’s Fabiana Da Silva Simoes and Spain’s Veronica Boquete are behind the lawsuit, which was filed against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) on Wednesday (1st October) with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

The group claims FIFA and CSA are discriminating against women by allowing the competition to be played on artificial turf when the men’s tournament has always taken place on grass - a state of affairs that is highly unlikely to alter in the near future.

The players have also voiced fears over altered playing conditions and an increased risk of injury on artificial turf.

In a statement, Hampton Dellinger, the attorney representing the players, explained “the gifted athletes we represent are determined not to have the sport they love be belittled on their watch.

"Getting an equal playing field at the World Cup is a fight female players should not have to wage but one from which they do not shrink. In the end, we trust that fairness and equality will prevail over sexism and stubbornness."

Wambach and her counterparts initially wrote to FIFA and the CSA in July outlining their willingness to take legal action and their stance has attracted support from the likes of US men’s goalkeeper Tim Howard and NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant.

The players maintain that they will not boycott matches in Canada, believing turf could be rolled onto the existing surfaces as was the case when Manchester United faced Real Madrid at Michigan’s Big House in August this year.

Wednesday’s filing of the legal action followed statements made by FIFA’s head of women’s competitions, Tatjana Haenni, on Tuesday when visiting Ottawa’s World Cup venue.

Haenni stated "we play on artificial turf and there's no Plan B.”



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