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Women’s World Cup artificial-turf controversy ends – SportsUntapped.com
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Added February 9th, 2015 by Ian

Women’s World Cup artificial-turf controversy ends
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Several of the world’s top female soccer stars launched a lawsuit against FIFA a few months ago as they accused the world’s governing body of being sexist. The claim was made after FIFA announced that the 2015 Women’s World Cup will be played on several artificial-turf pitches in Canada. The women argued that FIFA was discriminating against them since all Men’s World Cup games have to be held on real grass surfaces.

The group of female players, which included American star Abby Wambach, recently gave up the fight though and said they’ve ended their legal action against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA). The women originally launched the suit through the Human Rights Tribunal of the Canadian province of Ontario because they claimed artificial surfaces typically cause more injuries and the ball bounces and travels differently on artificial pitches when compared to their grass counterparts.

Wambach read a statement to the media last week regarding the issue and said, “Our legal action has ended. But I am hopeful that the players’ willingness to contest the unequal playing fields and the tremendous public support we received during the effort marks the start of even greater activism to ensure fair treatment when it comes to women’s sports.”

But while both FIFA and the CSA were named in the suit, neither of the organizations budged from their stance. Instead, it was the players who flinched first. The Women’s World Cup will go on as scheduled with 24 teams battling it out for the trophy in six different cities across Canada. The event kicks off on June 6th and the Final will be held on artificial turf at B.C. Place in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 5th. According to Hampton Dellinger, the lawyer representing the women, the players just want to focus on the upcoming tournament and put the game of soccer first.

This will be the first Women’s World Cup to be played on artificial surfaces and the women got support from people all over the world, including NBA basketball great Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers Oscar winner Tom Hanks. The actor sent out a Tweet which said, “Opinion: Women’s World Cup is the best Soccer of the year. Hey FIFA, they deserve real grass. Put in sod.“

In 2004 FIFA changed its tune slightly by allowing certain types of artificial surfaces to be used for games. Some of the pitches at the 2010 men’s World Cup in South Africa were a combination of real grass and artificial fibers. In addition, FIFA rules say that all practices and games at a World Cup must be played on the same type of surface. The women did gain a small victory though since the current artificial playing surface at B.C. Place will be upgraded before the tournament gets underway. In addition, goal line technology will also be used for the first time at the women’s event after it was introduced at the Men’s World Cup in Brazil last year.

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