Players threaten legal action over artificial turf at Women’s World Cup

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By CAITLIN MURRAY

A group of players expected to play in the Women’s World Cup next summer, including Abby Wambach, have already made it clear they oppose the tournament being played on artificial turf.

They’ve spoken to the media. They’ve signed a petition. And now, they might sue over it.

A letter sent via legal counsel on behalf of a players group, including Americans Wambach, Alex Morgan and Heather O’Reilly, threatened legal action for discrimination against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association as hosts of the tournament if the fields aren’t changed. The players group includes international stars, such as Germany’s Nadine Angerer and Spain’s Vero Boquete.

“Should you refuse to voluntarily fix the field situation, legal recourse is available and will be utilized,” the letter said. “Consigning women to a second-class surface is gender discrimination that violates European charters and numerous provisions of Canadian law.”

The 2015 Women’s World Cup, as planned, will be the first senior World Cup, men’s or women’s, to be played entirely on artificial turf. The 2010 World Cup for the men in South Africa introduced artificial fibers to reinforce grass fields, but subsequent tournament bids through 2022 all have exclusively included grass.

FIFA reportedly refused to comment on the letter, but a spokesman did point out Canada’s bid had always included turf and was approved by FIFA. Canada was the only country to bid to host the 2015 World Cup after Zimbabwe, the only other candidate, canceled its bid.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter defended artificial turf Monday as he prepared for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, which kicks off Tuesday on all-artificial fields.

“It used to be the case that playing on artificial turf was a nightmare,” Blatter told reporters. “The quality was poor; it was no better than a carpet. But the quality has improved vastly since then. Artificial pitches are the future. Wherever football is played, all over the world, there is an increasing lack of space for training and competitive pitches.”

CSA President Victor Montagliani has not commented on the letter. CSA announced earlier this year Canada will bid to host the 2026 men’s World Cup, but has not yet indicated whether that bid will include grass or artificial turf fields.

The letter, dated July 28, hinted players aren’t planning to boycott the 2015 World Cup, but hoped sponsors and broadcasters may heed the cause.

“Regardless of the outcome of our discussions or litigation, the players we represent are committed to participating in Canada 2015,” said the letter, which was published by The Equalizer. “Nonetheless, proposing that world-class female athletes be singled out to play on a second-class surface is wrong and should be unacceptable to your organizations, your broadcast partners, and your corporate sponsors.”

The letter had asked CSA and FIFA to reply by Monday, but by the evening Monday, there had been no reports of a response.

The legal team, which includes attorneys from both the U.S. and Canada, argued turf represents unequal treatment for women and a higher chance of injury.

“By singling out women for differential and unequal treatment,” it said, “you not only subject the world’s top players to heightened risk from an array of turf-related injuries, but you also force them to experience the legally cognizable indignity of playing the game’s most important event on what your organizations admit to be an inferior surface.

The U-20 Women’s World Cup begins Tuesday with the U.S. facing Germany at 7pm ET on ESPNU.

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What do you think of this development? Do the soccer players have a case? Should FIFA step in? Should the fields be grass for the 2015 World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, FIFA World Cup, Women's Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to Players threaten legal action over artificial turf at Women’s World Cup

  1. Brain Guy says:

    Good for them. I wish MLS players had such guts.

    • MisterJC says:

      I think the more accurate word used here should be Leverage over Guts. The women may be able to make enough noise to prompt action, but the MLS players don’t have that same influence…

    • sony says:

      no guts no glory Mr. Landon.

    • Josh D says:

      Players play on artificial turf all around the world. As it stands, the Russian World Cup will have some games on turf. Complain about it, yes. But pulling the women discrimination card just sounds desperate, childish, and like a bunch of sour grapes.

      • CeezNYRB says:

        Let’s keep it g. The women (as well as men) don’t want to play on turf. If they had taken the “normal” course of action, they wouldn’t be heard. In order to be heard, they needed to play that card. You don’t have to like it but realize that’s really all they have in order to be heard.

        • Josh D says:

          They could have been heard years ago when it was decided they would play on turf in Canada or leading up to it. They could have gotten their federations to support them. Doing it so seemingly last second just seems unprofessional.

          • CeezNYRB says:

            I hear you but the point of the matter is regardless of how late it is, NO ONE wants to play on turf. Blame it on “player oversight” or “organizational oversight” if you want. No one wants to play on turf. So, naturally, something needs to be done. Do you honestly expect the women to be heard sans discrimination card?

            Better stated, if the discrimination card wasn’t played, would there be an article about it on SBI?

            • Kyle says:

              Artificial turf is a reality in Canada.
              If the mens world cup was scheduled here, it would also be played on turf.
              I agree with you, nobody wants to play on turf, and the men would probably complain about it, just the same as the women are.
              But, they don’t need to play the “its because we’re female” card, that’s just stupid.

          • Amber says:

            The players have been talking about it for years. Just because you haven’t been paying attention, doesn’t mean they haven’t been trying to change it. I have heard/read numerous interviews over the years with Wambach, Laroux, and Morgan talking about the turf issue. Going to the media didn’t work, Blatter mocked the one woman representative on the executive committee, so they probably felt they have no other option. Laws in Canada better address gender discrimination than US laws and female ski jumpers also sued when women’s ski jumping was excluded from the Vancouver Olympics. They didn’t get ski jumping in those Olympics, but the media attention helped get ski jumping in the next Olympics.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        The trump card is there was only one bid at decision time. Zimbabwe dropped out, leaving Canada. The choices would have been a tumultuous re-bid or accepting a bid calling for turf. I hate turf but FIFA can’t make people bid and I don’t think you can call accepting a reasonable Canadian bid, that happens to include turf, discrimination.

        The past history argument would be harder, the senior events have pretty much universally been on grass, even if it meant covering the surface in Detroit with grass. But you could say we’ve accepted Russia with Luzhinki for 2018 and had a few age group events on turf.

        I don’t see the lawsuit going anywhere because it at best assumes what it will want to prove, and in terms of leverage, this is not an isolated venue, you can’t get them to drop a single turf stadium under political pressere, it’s the whole thing. Canada and FIFA have no reason to do anything but circle the wagons and beat the lawsuit, and hold the tournament as expected.

      • john says:

        As it stands? Has there been a FIFA rule change? It’s my understanding that FIFA forbids mens WC games from being played on artificial turf.

  2. west says:

    They need to suck it up and play ball. A fake field in Canada is way better than real grass in Qatar!

  3. a says:

    GIRL POWER. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS

    if they won’t give it to you, take it

  4. No says:

    Oh f off. Nobody likes turf, but this is hardly gender discrimination. Check your facts wambach.

    • "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

      It is totally Gender Discrimination.

      Would the Men’s WC be played on turf. If the answer is “No”, then that is Discrimination. It then becomes gender discrimination because men would not be asked to play on a surface that women are being asked to play on.

      With That Said … Ante UP!

      Don’t play! Stand up for what you believe and take it to its full measure…BOYCOTT THE CUP!

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        ….dude come on…it is a lilttle over blown….they knew about artificial turf from the bid… they didnt have to pick playin there…they did cuz NA is tha only place dat cares enough to show up to the games for womens soccee…theyre playin on turf Cuz Canada dont care enough to pay for grass…for soccer.. much less womens soccer.. smh..

        • petro4ever says:

          “… much less women’s soccer.. smh…”

          I think you just explained why it’s gender discrimination.

          • peterjh says:

            FWIW, if it was the men’s world cup, there would have been more than one country bidding for it. Gender discrimination…market economics…it can be spun.

          • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

            So its gender discrimination that there is less intrest in womens sports… oh please.

          • kevino says:

            There’s little interest in the womens sport. Why dont women support it ?

            • petro4ever says:

              Record TV ratings during the 2011 tournament (not just in the U.S. but in the host country and elsewhere) suggest that the “little interest in the women’s sport” argument doesn’t really apply to the Women’s World Cup.

              More generally, depending on what exactly Canada’s anti-discrimination laws say, the fact that the men’s tournament is more popular than the women’s may not be relevant. It may very well come down to whether or not FIFA and the tournament’s organizing committee are doing something in the women’s tournament (playing exclusively on artificial turf) that they have never done and would never do for the men. There’s a decent chance that the answer to that question is “yes.”

              • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

                Record TV Ratings…for a WWC….lets not make it seem like everyone watched like the mens WC.. we all love the ladies and no one wants to play on turf.. but there werent any other bids for this WWC….why should Canada go above and beyond and installing grass (added expense) when there are literally no other better bids….As mentioned above Wambach crying foul so late after the bid was proposed makes it seem ridiculous..if there are so many other countries interested in hosting where there is grass ..then let them do it… i love the ladies and the game.. but come on..no ones diacriminating here…

                Also about the legal suit…the players will sue???..so i take it they are going pay the attorney fees as a collective… ya okay… callin bluff.

              • petro4ever says:

                The TV ratings remark was in response to the assertion that there is “little interest” in the women’s game, not to argue that the women are more popular than the men. I’ve never argued that the women’s tournament is more popular than the men’s. On the other hand, it’s a little silly to argue that the tournament doesn’t attract much interest when millions of people (including audiences beyond the U.S.) are watching it.

                As I said below, FIFA still gets to set minimum standards for acceptable bids, just like in any other bid situation. If Canada had submitted a bid that proposed games being played on asphalt, would FIFA have been forced to accept it? No, of course not. A lack of competition in bids doesn’t mean that all bid standards just go out the window.

                Wambach’s actually been complaining publicly about the artificial turf issue for quite some time now, so no, she didn’t raise the issue “late.” I’ve certainly been aware of Wambach’s position on this for several months and I don’t follow the women’s team much outside of major tournaments.

                Given that lawyers *wrote* this letter, that means the players have already retained them, so either they have lawyers doing this pro bono or they’re already on the hook for fees. If it’s the former, then no legal bills to worry about. If it’s the latter, then paying hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to have lawyers draft a letter threatening legal action without a plan to follow through would be really stupid — like “flushing money down the toilet” stupid. Also, not sure why players acting collectively is such a unfathomable idea. National teams do it all the time over pay and American pro athletes do it pretty regularly around collective bargaining issues. Indeed, your beloved MLS came reasonably close to a work stoppage the last time its CBA had to be negotiated. It’s no different here, and players like Wambach and Morgan are probably among the best-compensated female soccer players on the planet, so I doubt cash is an immediate issue.

      • no says:

        Canada was the only country to bid for the games, genius. Would Wambach prefer no WC to a WC played on turf?

  5. James says:

    The WWC makes enough money to afford the proper facilities required. And FIFA also has a cash reserve of like billions of dollars.

    • Andy in Atlanta says:

      No….it actually does not…just like the WNBA…it is supplemented at heavy losses..

      • Alex says:

        I decided to check and you are wrong. In 2011, Germany made a PROFIT from the WWC

        link to soccerex.com

        link to uefa.com

        Revenue came from ticket sales and sponsors: link to en.wikipedia.org

        They saw higher revenue from both than expected and ended up with a larger profit than expected.

        The fact that Canada was the only bidder for the WWC was unusual. I’m not sure of the cirumstances but 2019 started off with 7 bids.

        • petro4ever says:

          Thanks for doing the research Alex. I’m glad somebody looked it up rather than just falling back on the “women’s sports makes no money” cliche.

    • Andy in Atlanta says:

      There is a reason Canada was the only bid….

      Also…turf as been getting better and better each passing year… the turf the U20s played on in 2007 and the Women U20s played on today….certainly a respectable surface….

      Try playing in Mali where they have about 3 pitches worthy of international level matches yet they had like 6 verues in the ACoN in 2002…3 of them were practically dirt

  6. James says:

    The thing is that its not like FIFA hasn’t historically been super sexist. From Sepp’s gross comments about women in football over and over again, to the glaring fact that FIFA has almost no women….. you look at the fact that turf would never be acceptable for a men’s World Cup and I don’t know how you don’t at a *minimum* see the POSSIBILITY of a double standard.

    Because if this really is about safety then how can you defend no putting on the same quality tournament? You can have a lot of differences between the tournaments (i.e. they are in different countries and are held in different years) but you can’t have differences in safety. That’s just a no-go. At least some studies suggest turf is worse for athlete injuries so my question would be how strong that case is?

    • Drewbles says:

      It’s not like FIFA chose inferior facilities and forced them on the women. There was only one bid to choose from in the selection process after Zimbabwe dropped out. They definitely don’t make enough money from the women’s cup to build new stadiums with grass, and they really don’t have any leverage to force existing stadiums to change their surfaces. What exactly was FIFA supposed to do to prevent this situation?

      • petro4ever says:

        Do we know of any evidence that Canada would have withdrawn its bid (or not bid in the first place) if FIFA had required that potential host country bids include real grass fields? Any evidence that FIFA couldn’t have negotiated with Canada’s federation to amend its bid to include grass fields in exchange for FIFA relaxing some other bid requirement?

        The fact that there is only 1 bidder doesn’t change the fact that the entity soliciting bids can set minimum standards for bidders and require adherence to them. For whatever reason, FIFA either chose not to include real grass as a standard for bidders or made the choice that it wasn’t important for this tournament (even though it’s been important for every World Cup up until this one) — a questionable decision given that the role playing surface plays in how the game is played.

  7. alf says:

    Just finished watching the U-20 match vs Germany. Lazy, terrible first touch, ball watchers, terrible passing when under any kind of pressure, terrible passing in the final third, too many fouls when no foul was needed, disorganized and very much a prime example of poor coaching. Set pieces can’t be the only thing you train for. I won’t watch this crap anymore……

    • Dr.K says:

      Astoundingly bad show by the USA Women. They punted the ball 9 times down the field, lost possesion all 9 times. The Germans did not punt at all. Truly should be used as a training film on what not to do on the soccer field. so sad to see.

      • Steven C says:

        Immediately after they conceded the goal, during the ensuing kick-off, the US girl just kicks it down the field to no one for the German keeper to collect. At that point, I turned it off. It was pathetic to watch.

    • Remy says:

      I agree. It was pathetic. One would think that the US can produce players with better technical skills but apparently the coach only likes to play long balls.

  8. Bobb says:

    Equality? Yes a world in which Sepp “women athletes should wear revealing clothing” Blatter runs FIFA and World Cups are awarded to Russia (anti-gay laws, racist attacks) and Qatar (anti-gay laws, slave labor) should not like us…

  9. Ivan says:

    Cudos!

    Bayern should refuse to play in Portland until and unless they get rid of the fake grass. This is abomination.

    Seattle, Portland, Revs should get rid of their grass asap. I wish Garber had some balls to force this.

    The beautiful game shall not be played on fake turf. Not now, not never!

  10. Alex says:

    On the revenue argument… That’s like saying that because college football players don’t bring in as much revenue as professional football players, college games shouldn’t include helmets. Turf is less safe than grass. Revenue has nothing to do with this.

    • peterjh says:

      You don’t see any issues with your analogy?

      • Drewbles says:

        Alex raised this issue because he was forced to play football without a helmet and look what happened to him!

      • Anthony says:

        what is the error in his analogy?

        • Jacknut says:

          I’ll be nice and only point out 1 error: College Football players bring in significant revenues.

          • Paul says:

            First – you missed his point. This is an issue of equal treatment. The Canadian law and as well as FIFA mandate (““The word football doesn’t differentiate between male and female. Football is a game featuring 22 players and one ball, and it’s the same for both men and women”) preach equal treament. Canadian government explicitly states that “Canada is a world leader in the promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality.” How is it equal treatment if you allow men and women to play on different surfaces which are, arguably, materially different in quality. The only way you CSA & FIFA would win this is if they can argue natural grass and turf are materially equal in virtually regards which might be possible except for FIFA’s history.

            Second – I was involved in sports when I was at university/college. I also have friends who played sports (including D1 football). MOST D1 programs loose money. Did you know that?

            Third – The last women’s world cup was VERY profitable. The FIFA expenses related to 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup was $70,385,000 BUT their Broadcasting revenue alone for 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup was $536,728,000 globally. Not to mention, Germany made a lot of money off the 2011 Women’s World Cup. link to fifa.com

          • Alex says:

            There is not a flaw in my analogy – you just don’t understand it because you apparently cant read. College sports make less money than pro sports. Both are profitable, but pro sports more. Women’s soccer makes less money than men’s soccer. Both are profitable, but men’s more. You’re not very bright. This is an apples:apples analogy

  11. KenC says:

    Why are you defending FIFA and the money they extort? Did you see all those freebie VIP seats in blue in Brazil?

    Isn’t it far more interesting to hear the answers Blatter has?

  12. pureslang says:

    Fact checking would be good before hitting publish. Several of the U-20 Games will be played at The National Soccer Stadium, AKA BMO. Grass surface.

    If the players are so concerned about their either bodies or performance they should boycott. Or stop playing in their own domestic league that also has several turf fields.

    They should also stop attending universities that play on turf fields. The reality is. Canada was the only nation to bid on the tourney.

    The US seemed to do fine during olympic qualifying 3 years ago in Vancouver and really should suck it up and just play the game.

    This isn’t about considering anyone second class citizens, and I’m afraid that the US women’s team are about to realize a harsh reality about international law and the fact that you can’t just take everyone to court in Canada, the way you can in the United States of America.

    Also, if you are going to make threats against an organization try to make sure the deadline for your response from a national body does not fall on a holiday Monday. Hard to take you seriously when you don’t have any concept of working in a foreign market. Part of the problem of dealing with “The Canada” is that it is not the USA.

    Also in Sepp Blatters press conference on Tuesday he mentioned that the rate of injuries over the course of qualifying which has occured on turf fields is no higher than on grass. Different injuries perhaps but not more. Also scoring was increased.

    • Alex says:

      broski, it’s the first senior “full team” World Cup on turf. Maybe you should factcheck yourself before hitting publish.

      And American players weren’t the only ones who signed onto the letter. This is an American website so they mentioned the Americans but Nadine Angerer, Vero Boquete, etc signed on. Players you’ve surely heard of if you follow womens soccer and aren’t just a Canadian who came here to pick fights with Americans.

      Lastly- Sepp Blatter has never been wrong about anything or twisted facts in his favor. NEVER I SAY

      • pureslang says:

        “FIFA President Sepp Blatter defended artificial turf Monday as he prepared for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, which kicks off Tuesday on all-artificial fields.”

        Reading comprehension goes a long way as well.

        • Hayes says:

          However, the suit is regarding next summer’s Womens WC.

        • Alex says:

          Dude, you still cannot read. The 2015 WWC will be the first SENIOR World Cup on turf. The article never claimed youth World Cups haven’t been held on turf. Senior World Cups (mens and womens) have always been on grass. Also worth noting youth world cups are held every TWO years. for someone that whines about reading comprehension, you have absolutely none.

    • Paul says:

      I don’t mean to be too snarky here, but you should not slam people for not fact-checking and poor reading comprehension when you seem to fail at it and make assumptions along the way.
      – “Also, if you are going to make threats against an organization try to make sure the deadline for your response from a national body does not fall on a holiday Monday” Well, if you read the linked legal memorandum, you see that one mentioned adversarial party of interest is FIFA (and their executive officers) based in Zurich, the other party is CSA in Ontario and the representative for the plaintiffs is in the DC office of the law firm Boies Schiller. August 4th is not a public holiday in the US or Switzerland and in Ontario, it’s a civic day that employers are NOT required to have off.

      – “This isn’t about considering anyone second class citizens, and I’m afraid that the US women’s team are about to realize a harsh reality about international law and the fact that you can’t just take everyone to court in Canada, the way you can in the United States of America.” – Actually, as someone who practices international law, you can take someone to court in Canada if Canadian law applies and a law has been broken/you can argue that an applicable Canadian law is at issue. It also isn’t just American players suing. Again, if you READ the linked memo, “We write on behalf of many of the world’s greatest current players including Germany’s Nadine Angerer (the 2013 FIFA player of the year), Brazil’s Fabiana Da Silva Simões, Mexico’s Teresa Noyola, Spain’s Verónica Boquete, Americans such as Abby Wambach (the 2012 FIFA player of the year), Alex Morgan and Heather O’Reilly, along with players from New Zealand, Costa Rica, and several other nations. As you should know, dozens of other players from teams across the globe (including Japan, Sweden, France and England) have signed petitions and made public statements calling on you to utilize grass rather than artificial fields”.

      – “If the players are so concerned about their either bodies or performance they should boycott. Or stop playing in their own domestic league that also has several turf fields.” – That is not the crux of the issue. There are leagues in Europe where teams play on fields that are entirely turf. The issue is the standards that FIFA has for both the Woman’s and World Cup. If has two different requirements for the fields then the argument MAY be made that is it discriminatory. It all depends on what the Canadian law states and what the FIFA mandates states.

      That being said, I have played on the new turf fields (both soccer and rugby). The fields are nice, but a little slick in the rain.

  13. Garf says:

    men’s world cup qualifiers are already played on artificial turf.

    If you want to fight for equal rights then get rid of sports based on gender!

    • Del Griffin says:

      ” In response to this lawsuit, we believe we were wrong and this is discriminatory. We will immediately disband all women’s leagues, and the women players will be free to fight for a spot on the regular teams.”

  14. slowleftarm says:

    I’m always kind of surprised why everyone makes such a big deal about this.

  15. JoeW says:

    First, the timing on this is just sublime. Sepp just finished proclaiming about how Canada (b/c they have the WWC) is now ready to host the WC in 2026. But….but…but…Canada got the WWC only b/c no-one else bid. And they’re playing on turf (which is a no-go for the men’s competition).

    Second, it’s weak but it is a gender thing. Effectively what the women who are suing are saying is: it’s okay to have the women play on this but not the mean. And that is gender discrimination.

    Third, the only names I saw listed were americans. I wonder if any players outside of the US have put their names to this suit? If not, I can see how this will make the US women even more look like “bad guys” or the “girls in the black hats” in the Canadian press come tournament time.

    • Paul says:

      Americans are not the only ones who signed the petition. If you click the link to the legal letter, you see they write “We write on behalf of many of the world’s greatest current players including Germany’s Nadine Angerer (the 2013 FIFA player of the year), Brazil’s Fabiana Da Silva Simões, Mexico’s Teresa Noyola, Spain’s Verónica Boquete, Americans such as Abby Wambach (the 2012 FIFA player of the year), Alex Morgan and Heather O’Reilly, along with players from New Zealand, Costa Rica, and several other nations. As you should know, dozens of other players from teams across the globe (including Japan, Sweden, France and England) have signed petitions and made public statements calling on you to utilize grass rather than artificial fields”.

      As of yesterday, according to link to coworker.org, the following have signed this petition:
      Abby Wambach – USA
      Carli Lloyd – USA
      Ali Krieger – USA
      Alex Morgan – USA
      Whitney Engen – USA
      安藤 梢 (Kozue Ando) – JPN
      大儀見 優季 (Yūki Ōgimi) – JPN
      Anja Mittag – GER
      Nadine Angerer – GER
      Annike Krahn – GER
      Célia Okoyino da Mbabi – GER
      Kim Kulig – GER
      Almuth Schult – GER
      Laura Benkarth – GER
      Melanie Behringer – GER
      Melissa Barbieri – AUS
      Sam Kerr – AUS
      Caitlin Foord – AUS
      Natalia Gaitan – COL
      Melissa Ortiz – COL
      Nataly Arias – COL
      Eugénie Le Sommer – FRA
      Camille Abily – FRA
      Wendie Renard – FRA
      Veronica Boquete – ESP
      Caroline Seger – SWE
      Lotta Schelin – SWE
      Kosavare Asllani – SWE
      Olivia Schough – SWE
      Sara Thunebro – SWE
      Malin Levenstad – SWE
      Sofia Lundgren – SWE
      Emma Berglund – SWE
      Charlotte Rohlin – SWE
      Hedvig Lindahl – SWE
      Nilla Fischer – SWE
      Annica Svensson – SWE
      Therese Sjoran – SWE
      Caroline Jönsson – SWE
      Anita Asante – ENG
      Faye White – ENG
      Natasha Dowie – ENG
      Nora Holstad – NOR
      Ingvild Isaken – NOR
      Maren Mjelde – NOR
      Theresa ‘Lupita’ Worbis – MEX
      Ana-Maria Crnogorčević – SUI
      Sarah Walsh – AUS (Retired)
      Michelle Akers – USA (Retired)
      Sandra Smisek – GER (Retired)

  16. Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

    Surreal.

    I am coaching 36 players right now…and everyone of them is jazzed that everyone of our games are on turf this year.

    Surreal is the only way to describe it.

  17. Nico C. says:

    I’m sorry, but they definitely have a case.

    “By singling out women for differential and unequal treatment, you not only subject the world’s top players to heightened risk from an array of turf-related injuries, but you also force them to experience the legally cognizable indignity of playing the game’s most important event on what your organizations admit to be an inferior surface.”

    They’re NOT suing because on playing on turf per se. They’re suing “for differential and unequal treatment” between the men’s World Cup and the women’s World Cup, meaning FIFA did not make a good enough effort in the eyes of the plaintiffs. This is NOT a turf lawsuit – it’s a discrimination lawsuit. BIG difference.

    Playing on turf is a little irrelevant in this case. For example, in a different world, if Brazil 2014 was Canada 2014, FIFA would be constructing grass stadiums or state-of-the-art turf technology specifically for the Cup. FIFA did not do this, therefore it’s “differential and unequal treatment.”

    • Alex H says:

      No they don’t. The men’s world cup wasn’t played in Canada so a Canadian court isn’t going to force the Canadians to put grass on their fields because a men’s tournament for men held on a different continent had all grass fields.

      • Paul says:

        Did you even read what he wrote? He said IF it was played in Canada. The issue is CANADIAN law and FIFA’s own mandate. The issue is would Canada use Turf fields with a Men’s World Cup Tournament AND would FIFA allow a Men’s World Cup to be played on fields that are all-artificial fields. They have a case! However, what may not help that them is says that FIFA approved turf can be used at World Cup events (link to fifa.com). That being said, they have not done so at a Men’s World Cup.

        • Alex H says:

          You don’t have a case if your argument is IF something that did not happen actually did happen then that would be discrimination.

          • Paul says:

            Yes, you do! The law is all abut drawing analogies. Your rarely have a case that is that clean and dry. Otherwise it would prima facie guilt/innocence. You go to court or mediation to argue your analogy.

  18. Alex H says:

    I saw the game last night and the field was fine. The ball rolled true and the players were able to link up for some very pretty soccer……….if they happened to be German.

  19. Alex H says:

    The women’s soccer crowd suffers from selective outrage when it comes to discrimination. They don’t seem to complain that it is unequal and unfair that the NWSL gets subsidies from their soccer federations when the MLS does not, nor do they complain that FIFA forces networks that want to air the men’s world cup to air the women’s world cup as well. I am a huge fan of women’s soccer but I am grown up enough to realize that if left to survive on an equal basis with men, the game at the professional level would wither. The fields in Canada are fine, and if women’s soccer wants to reach the point where they can demand all of the bells and whistles of the men’s world cup they need to increase the popularity of their sport by continuing to play good soccer rather than suing people.

    • Anthony says:

      True…but MLS was subsidized by Rich owners and would not have survived had it not been for families like the Hunts willing to talk a loss. 7 of the 19 teams still loose money: link to forbes.com

      • Anthony says:

        MLS reportedly lost $250 million in its first five years and in 2002 was forced to contract the Miami expansion and the charter franchise in Tampa Bay.

        • Alex H says:

          Rich owners taking a loss is not a subsidy. A subsidy is when a third party like the USSF props up rich owners when they are losing money. MLS survived because the owners thought that in the long run they could make money which turned out to be true. Even if some of the teams still lose money I am pretty sure that the owners could sell them at a profit, as evidenced by Chivas USA. The same dynamic does not apply to NWSL where it is a simple case of no-subsidy, no league.

          • Anthony says:

            Alex H, what are you talking about? You can call it an investment or a subsidy, it is the same thing. Either way, if the entity or business you have is not self-sustaining, you can put money in the form of an investment/subsidy if you think there is long term opportunity for growth. Technically, subsidy is a term used for government funding. Yes, teams can be sold at a profit because MLS is growing…soccer, in general, is growing in the US. Mens and Women’s soccer (in general) is better than it was in the ’90’s. That being said, I think that the $70 million franchise fee is a bit much.

  20. Older & Wiser says:

    Last time I checked per FIFA LOTG artifical surfaces were acceptable playing surfaces provided they complied with certain technical standards (and were green). As long as turf complying with certain specifications continues to be an officially-sanctioned surface, I think a suit is going nowhere.

  21. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Absolutely stunned that SBI would bother to remove posts that did not agree with the women here… this is a comment section…not a propaganda tool…

    FACTS:

    Men’s world cup qualifiers have been played on turf several times before…

    The Women’s World Cup in Germady barely broke even and only thanks to major corporate sponsorship….there is simply not enough world interest in the game compared to the men…that is is no sexist…it is a fact…

    The turf most first world stadiums are equipped with is very very close to grass…is it perfect…no but neither is a crappy third world pitch when the US men have to go play in the Caribbean….

    Ladies should be happy that outside of tennis, womens soccer is the most watched female ball sport in the world… I support it, I watch it…but don’t go all equality on me…the “games” are not equals…

    • Anthony says:

      Yeah, screw equality….what? They are not asking for equal pay. The suit explicitly talks about field conditions. Guess what, a lot of players don’t like field turf because of the history of injuries. Field Turf is better now than the turf was in the 90’s when I was in university. However, I understand their concern. FIFA has said they approve certain types of field turf, but have not used it on tournament. Think about that. Yes, it has been used in the one off qualifying game, but has it been used in senior tournament? No! Words mean one thing, actions say another thing entirely.

      Let them have it out. If FIFA can prove there is not material difference btw natural and field turf in all regards, they win. If the women can prove other wise, they win.

      For what it’s worth, read Paul’s post above (I even went to the links), FIFA made money off the 2011 World Cup. By the way, Germany made money off the world cup (link to bmi.bund.de). Sponsorships are part of the equation, no one realizes on just tickets sales, you would loose money even in men’s events. The broadcast fees go to FIFA. Sponsor deals are a huge part of the equation. Then you have the indirect bonus to your economy (hotels, tourist spending etc).

      PS – I am not a guy who is a tree hugging liberal

    • Alex says:

      Why do you care so much? the more you say you;re not sexist, the more you sound really sexist. It’s like it bothers you that women want to play on grass fields. That is a mystifying reaction to me

      You’re lying about the Germany World Cup. They made a big profit and then reinvested surplus profits into the girls and womens soccer programs there.

      I find it hilarious when guys claim the quality of women’s soccer isn’t worth watching because it’s not as good as men’s…… and yet they still watch MLS which is clearly substandard to leagues like EPL. Or they watch college sports which are substandard to pro sports.

      Youre just sexist. Admit it and leave the thread. No one cares if how much people watch womens soccer compared to tennis. They want grass fields so they don’t injure themselves. jfc.

  22. The Garrincha says:

    Have we all gone plastic and fake?.
    This argument is real, not synthetic or made up.
    We need the genuine article.
    If the cows can’t eat it, or you can’t smoke it, leave it alone.
    Injury in sports are more frequent on turf, that’s a fact, (however next gen turf is about even),
    although on the imitation stuff the ball bounces and plays more like pinball, and runs away from you for days.
    Carpet burn sucks, and it’s far more slippery when wet. aesthetically it’s less pleasing
    and you don’t get the same feel and quality of play.
    there is a reason all the top clubs in the world
    demand to play on the real thing.
    The bottom line at the senior/top level whether it be Men’s or Women’s soccer they
    should have fair and equal treatment and consideration.
    I like grass, the natural kind.
    anyway would we watch or play NBA, on rubber or cement courts?
    No, just the hardwood. Or what if they played Wimbledon, on hybrid polymers?,
    In the end, FIFA should just be consistent, equitable, and fair, no more no less.

    P.S. Let’s go ladies, summer vacations over, what’s up with the W U20’s?.

  23. Amber says:

    The pathetic thing is that the Mocton stadium actually has a grass field and they are removing it to put in turf for the tourney

    • Alex H says:

      They are doing that in order to make all of the playing surfaces the same for the sake of, you know, equality.

      • Arthur says:

        Correct: equally crappy surfaces for all (women, that is). Wish Wambach et al. would have threatened legal action earlier, once the Canadian bid was accepted. Hope the ladies are successful, and introduce more transparency into the World Cup bids for both genders.