Stars take CSA and FIFA before tribunal

[2015 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP'] A day after FIFA's Tatjana Haenni said there was no Plan B for replacing the artificial turf at the six Canadian venues for the 2015 Women's World Cup, a coalition of women's internationals representing at least 11 countries, including Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Heather O'Reilly of the United States, filed in application in the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario seeking to have grass surfaces installed.

The position of the players is that FIFA's decision to hold the tournament on artificial turf is inherently discriminatory and injures the players in 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.

Grass surfaces have been used at all prior men’s and women’s World Cups. Canada 2015 will be played on artificial turf at all six venues. (One venue, Moncton Stadium, was even converted from grass to turf to make all surfaces the same.)

The application asks Canada 2015 organizers to install permanent grass surfaces reinforced with synthetic fibers (as was used at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa) or temporary grass surfaces at the six venues.

At the start of an inspection tour of the six venues, Haenni, FIFA’s deputy director of the competitions and head of women's competitions, told reporters in Ottawa that there were no plans to change the decision.

"It is according to the competition regulations," she said. "It is according to laws of the game, so all matches will be on artificial turf."

The lawsuit represents an array of stars, including Germany's Nadine Angerer, the 2013 FIFA Women's Player of the Year, and Wambach, the 2012 winner, as well as players from Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea and Spain. No Canadians were named among the applicants.

"The gifted athletes we represent are determined not to have the sport they love be belittled on their watch," said Hampton Dellinger, who is representing the players, in a statement to AP. "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."
3 comments about "Stars take CSA and FIFA before tribunal".
  1. John M Cote, October 2, 2014 at 7:53 a.m.

    This is so lame on the part of CSA and FIFA. The cost to grass the fields (I've seen estimates at about $5 million)is a drop in the bucket for FIFA.

    Shame on them. Good luck ladies, you deserve to win in this case.

  2. Michael In Bruges, October 2, 2014 at 12:58 p.m.

    Any player suffering knee injuries during the WWC would have a serious case against CSA and FIFA for lost wages if it impacts their future contract negotiations.

  3. John Soares, October 2, 2014 at 2:09 p.m.

    I am with the ladies on this. However this is much less about artificial turf than about dignity and equal treatment. Artificial turf is here to stay. Women and "sometimes" men play on it. When it comes to world competitions both men and women should play on equal "level" fields. When changes occur and they will. Apply them equally. But what can you expect from an organization (FIFA) who's president said not too long ago. That; "If women wanted to attract more attention to their game they should wear shorter shorts".

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