[2015 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP']
A deadline of Friday noon ET passed for FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to begin talks with a coalition of women's
internationals on ways to fix what they say are unacceptable playing conditions proposed for next year's Women’s World Cup in Canada. The next step: a lawsuit could be filed in the Human Rights
Tribunal of Ontario.
Attorney Hampton Dellinger
, who is representing the players, said in a final notice sent to FIFA president Sepp Blatter
and Victor Montagliani
and Peter Montopoli
of the CSA he therefore
assumes FIFA and the CSA "prefer to resolve this matter through the courts rather than cooperation."
included a draft of the legal brief in support of the lawsuit ready to be filed in the Human Rights Tribunal of
Ontario, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN.
The issue: instead of grass surfaces on which all prior men’s and women’s World Cups have been played, Canada 2015 be played on
artificial turf at all six venues. (One venue, Moncton Stadium, was even converted from grass to artificial turf to make all surfaces the same.)
The position of the players: the decision
to hold the tournament on artificial turf is inherently discriminatory and injures the players in what Dellinger terms three significant ways:
(1) by forcing them to compete on a surface
that fundamentally alters the way the game is played;
(2) by subjecting them to unique and serious risks of injury; and
(3) by devaluing their dignity, state of mind and
self-respect by requiring them to play on a second-class surface before tens of thousands of fans and a global broadcast audience.
In the proposed suit, the Canada 2015 organizers are
asked to install permanent grass surfaces reinforced with synthetic fibers (as was used at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa) or temporary grass surfaces.
On Friday, FIFA's executive committee
announced it will send an independent team to Canada to survey the playing surfaces.