Women Soccer Stars Fight to Even the Playing Field—Literally—by Rejecting Fake Grass
Top women soccer players say they are teaming up to file a lawsuit to stop world soccer officials from staging next summer’s Women’s World Cup in Canada on artificial turf instead of real grass.
FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association had until Friday to change their mind about the fields and allow the women to compete on grass, just like every men’s World Cup since 1930 has, ESPN reported.
More than 40 women players say they will file a claim with the human rights tribunal in Ontario, saying the disparity amounts to gender discrimination—and in Canada, that’s illegal.
In a letter threatening legal action obtained by sports news site The Equalizer, lawyers for the women players say next summer’s women’s World Cup would “take place on literally unequal playing fields” if the Astroturf decision went forward.
In addition to the open disrespect of not getting the same quality of venue, players don’t like artificial grass because the sliding tackles and blocks common in soccer cause painful skin abrasions.
The use of artificial grass is also insulting to the world-class players, the letter read, “by devaluing their dignity, state of mind and self-respect as a result of requiring them to play on a second-class surface before tens of thousands of stadium spectators and a global broadcast audience.”