Players retain legal counsel in fight against artificial turf at 2015 Women’s World Cup

Jeff Kassouf August 5, 2014 326
BC Place in Vancouver will host the 2015 Women's World Cup final. It is one of six venues that will be used, all featuring artificial turf. (Photo Copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

BC Place in Vancouver will host the 2015 Women’s World Cup final. It is one of six venues that will be used, all featuring artificial turf. (Photo Copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

A group of top international soccer players has retained legal counsel in the fight to have the playing surfaces of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup changed from artificial turf to natural grass.

Headlined by the last two FIFA Women’s World Players of the Year – American Abby Wambach and German Nadine Angerer – the group consists of approximately 40 national team players from around the world.

No senior women’s or men’s World Cup has ever been played on artificial turf. All six venues for next year’s Women’s World Cup in Canada are slated to feature artificial turf. The group’s lawyers – Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP of the United States, and Canadian firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP – sent a letter to Canada Soccer and FIFA officials on July 28, stating that the use of an “inferior” surface for the Women’s World Cup “is discriminatory and violates Canadian law.”

In the letter, obtained by The Equalizer and confirmed to have been delivered to FIFA and Canada Soccer, the players’ lawyers argue that the use of “a second-class surface is gender discrimination that violates European charters and numerous provisions of Canadian law, including human rights codes and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

The letter was addressed to Canada Soccer president Victor Montagliani and CEO Peter Montopoli, as well as FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter and Lydia Nsekera, Deputy Chairwoman of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and FIFA Vice-President and FIFA Executive Committee member.

FIFA confirmed on Tuesday that it had received the letter, but has no further comment, a spokesperson told The Equalizer. Canada Soccer also confirmed it received the letter, but had no further comment.

[MORE: Read the entire four-page letter to FIFA and Canada Soccer here]

Youth World Cups have previously been played on artificial turf, and the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup that begins on Tuesday in Canada will be played partly on turf in some of the same venues as next year’s Women’s World Cup.

All 2015 Women’s World Cup matches will be played on FIFA Recommended 2 Star, considered “the highest playing performance for professional-level football.” FIFA has a 103-page document detailing its turf standards.

Canada earned the right to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup in March 2011, running unopposed after Zimbabwe pulled its bid prior to the voting process. Early in 2013, players became aware that the tournament would be played on artificial turf, and a petition featuring over 40 of some of the world’s best international players was started.

Wambach first voiced her opposition publicly in March 2013, telling The Equalizer: “We’ve worked so hard as female athletes – not only here in the United States, but internationally – to grow the game and in my opinion I think this is taking a step back. All of the men’s international players around the world would argue the same point. A lot of these guys will not play on an artificial surface because it is an injury-prone surface and I don’t blame them.”’

In a Monday press conference in Toronto to inaugurate the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup, Blatter said that turf is here to stay.

“There was a time that playing on so-called artificial turf, grass – it was a nightmare,” Blatter said. “It was a nightmare because there was not the quality; it was just a carpet put on concrete, as they played at a certain time in the North American Soccer League in the ‘80’s. But now the quality of the turf, or the artificial grass, has improved very much, and it is definitely – it is the future.”

Blatter cited spacing issues and climate concerns as reasons for the use of turf around the world. He said that the younger generation has now grown up on artificial turf, making them potentially more accepting.

“This is for the future,” he said. “If now there is a category of players or coaches, they are not used to this new technology, which is this turf. They say at the first instance, they say it’s not good. But it’s good.”

Last year, Germany coach Silvia Neid said her team is against the use of artificial turf: “A World Cup on artificial turf is a no-go. It’s just not possible. We’ll be turned into guinea pigs. It’s a completely different game on that surface. FIFA has to make sure that we play on proper fields. Or what would you say, if our men’s team would have to play on sand in Brazil?”

The contingent of players considering legal action also includes Alex Morgan, Verónica Boquete and Heather O’Reilly. None of the players involved are Canadian.  Representing the group from Boies, Schiller & Flexner is Hampton Dellinger, along with Rocky Collis, Tristman Mallet and Catherine Gleason-Mercier from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt..

Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP was recently involved in the Ed O’Bannon vs. NCAA lawsuit arguing for reform of NCAA rules that prevent college players from sharing in revenues from broadcasts and licensing such as video games.

  • Ray Radlein

    Holy crap. David Boies’ law firm? That’s hauling out some BIG guns there.

    • wosofan

      Yes, prominent firm. Hampton Dellinger’s father was a Solicitor General under Clinton. I credit these women for retaining a top firm. This seems like an interesting case, though I’m guessing that a primary hurdle will be the ability to bring a case against FIFA at all (ie what court has jurisdiction over these claims against FIFA).

      Also, not mentioned in Jeff’s article: Blatter said Monday that football should look at the game of tennis as a model, since a few decades ago, many of the major tournaments were contested on grass, and now just one (Wimbledon). That’s not an apt comparison because of the amount of sliding and contact with the ground in soccer, and because tennis is not a contact sport where players are knocked down or fall down through incidental contact and fouls. Also, notably, both genders in tennis play on the exact same surfaces for all majors, and have always done so.

      Blatter’s women are considered guinea pigs. That’s what’s happening here.

      • jayme

        What i can see is the Fifa and Soccer Canada saying ok if you can help us find the money we will switch to grass.

        • Guest

          FIFA needs help finding money. did Qatar and Russia not give them enough?

          • Pia Knows Best

            Blatter/FIFA = Old Corruption. I’m sure Blatter is a billionairre by now, so he could pay to re-sod all venues next year if he wanted to.

          • jayme

            No help the citys find money.

          • wosofan

            Adidas, Coca-Cola, McDonalds just wrote huge checks to FIFA and its broadcast partners for the Brazil tournament. I think FiFA is drowning in cash.

          • Steglitz49

            What sort of checks are they writing for WC-15? Is it known?

        • Guest

          FIFA just took home $2 Billion from the 2014 WC. Finding the money isn’t the issue, it’s the willingness to spend a tiny bit of it on the women that is.

        • Steglitz49

          Canada is one of the world’s richest countries. If they can’t afford natural grass, who can?

          • jayme

            Its not about can’t is it makes no sense for them spend millions of $$$ for grass that will be used ahand full time games then rip it up.

          • 742

            Really? Because Toronto put down grass solely for a 2009 Real Madrid pre-season friendly, and then tore it right out when they were done.

          • jayme

            Were talking about a few stadiums in this case your talking a massive amount of money now if the players were willing to play a few more pro tournemant games maybe then it would be worth it.

          • Billy

            Yep, because that’s how it works…

        • Guest

          While I’m used to FIFA playing “hide the money” for their own gain it isn’t the women’s job to find it for them. They have the money. The end.

      • Steglitz49

        Blatter also advised women soccer players to play in more appealing kit. A number of women soccer players not only heeded his advice but went further and left their kit off for various photo-sessions though one was smart and turned herself out in body-paint,

    • RUfan
    • Silver Frost

      I hope plaintiffs win, but the case could be mired in appeals and technicalities for years. FIFA has deep pockets. Plaintiffs don’t have much time left before WC15. Even if the women won the suit it would not prevent FIFA from cheating women again in some future WC venue in another country, as Canadian law does not prevail outside its own borders.

      • Rufan

        No suit yet, from the letter dated July 28:

        “…However, if your organizations will not engage in a meaningful dialogue on how to correct the discriminatory treatment of women players, we are prepared to pursue legal action which we are confident should succeed.
        Regardless of the outcome of our discussions or litigation, the players we represent are committed to participating in Canada 2015….”

        …” If you are willing to join us in a good faith dialogue, please respond by letter, email, or phone call to me or to any of the attorneys listed below. We ask that you contact us by or before Monday, August 4th.”
        August 4 came and went without response, thus leaked to Equalizer.

      • necron99

        That is the worst part of it. FIFA does have very deep pockets. Brazil loses a ton of money hosting the WC, but FIFA turned a multiple billion dollar profit.

        Even if CSA cannot foot the bill to upgrade to grass fields for the WWC, then FIFA should cover at least part of it. That is part of what FIFA should be doing as the benevolent ruler of Football. They are tasked with growing the game. They have been holding WWC tournaments even though it was less “popular” than the men’s version. The growth of the women’s game has been obvious. They should pay the small cost to make sure that grass fields are used.

      • Steglitz49

        It is worth pondering what the possible outcomes would be were the courts to decide that the CSA must put down natural grass or not run the tournament.
        — the CSA could put down natural grass to keep the tournament; or
        — the CSA could inform FIFA that they can’t now run the tournament.
        In the second case FIFA could
        — give money to one of the world’s richest countries
        or
        — contact another country with natural grass pitches with recent experience of running a world cup, such as South-Africa or Brazil, or a country in a poor country where FIFA paying for natural grass would be a PR coup

        It will be an interesting few weeks or months.

        • reidjr

          I could see a deal where the Csa says ok but in return they get another tournamnt in the next few years.

          • Lorehead

            Why, in that scenario, would FIFA give the CSA another tournament if the Canadian courts blocked their original plan and the CSA insisted they had no choice but to call the whole thing off?

            What the athletes seem to be hoping for is for the CSA to give in to avoid bad publicity. I don’t see them cancelling the Women’s World Cup, which they didn’t expect to make money anyway.

            But, hey, I’m sure Brazil would love to pay for another World Cup right now.

          • Steglitz49

            FIFA might say: we prefer Brazil or South-Africa.

            2026 is 12 years away, not exactly “few”.

        • TsovLoj

          It’s not like the US couldn’t run it on a moment’s notice. We did it during China’s SARS epidemic.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily and forsooth. I took my cue that Abby having been so vocal, it might be bad PR to ask the US again.

  • green green grass of home

    Can’t help but note this represents about 10% of the participants. Most appear to be unconcerned about the surface. Perhaps other players will sign on if the legal challenge gains momentum. I know artificial grass is always viewed as causing more injuries, but is there actually any statistical support for that opinion. Are there any instances of male players refusing to play on a turf field? From a legal standpoint evidence of either situation would be helpful.

    • Guest

      there’s plenty of instances of male players refusing to play on turf field.

      • Greg

        Thierry Henry usually does not play on turf fields in MLS, Tim Cahill is 50-50 on them.

        • guest

          That’s two not plenty. How many male players in the world’s pro leagues. Should be notef that both players mentioned are old athletes just like those leading the women’s group. Seems like someone is playing the discrimination card under false pretenses.

    • TsovLoj

      I think it’s more likely most players don’t have the resources or the clout. Alex Morgan might be able to afford good lawyers, but your average player from Thailand certainly can’t.

    • Guest

      That probably has to do with the shorter list of players able to bankroll such a thing rather than disinterest. This isn’t a petition or a show of hands. This is legal action.

    • FF

      Artificial grass was on Russia’s biggest stadium for many years. Whilst it was a source of discomfort for players (it was easy to have some piece of plastic stuck in the shoe) and spectators (when heated, it didn’t smell good), very few players were medically not cleared to play there (mostly those with recent or multiple knee ligaments injuries).

    • Rufan

      From the letter sent to FIFA:
      “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. Earlier this month, the entire Australian women’s national team voiced its opposition to your plan. “

  • AshleyZ

    I like it. Artificial turf is crap. Should absolutely be given the same consideration as the men. Good luck ladies!

    • jayme

      Old turf is awful the new stuff is really nice.

      • Greg

        Have you ever seen how differently the ball moves on turf? Aside from the injury perspective, it’s just not the same game- ball is whizzing around, passes that would be perfect on grass keep rolling on turf.

        • jayme

          The old turf yes no question but the new turf in Ottawa no you don’t get that at all and i am sure the same with Hamilton.

          • Greg

            Looks the same watching games in Toronto, NE, or Portland, which I think all have the same turf as Ontario. It’ll be interesting to see how the U-20 WC looks.

        • prizby

          do you have qualitative facts to backup the injury perspective or you just assuming?

          • Greg

            The fact that most MLS DPs from teams w/o turf don’t play on turf. Doesn’t need to be anything more than that- it’s a perception that will be in the back of players’ minds the whole time they are on turf.

            And again, you missed my point- I said aside from the injury perspective, the game changes when it’s played on turf- as in, throwing away that idea.

          • prizby

            most? Morales, Laba, Valeri, Adi, Ridgewell, Dempsey, Alonso, and Martins all play on turf…Defoe, Bradley, and GIlberto (TFC’s DP’s) have all played on all turf games this year…with the exception of Henry (who has played in Portland), most DP’s do play on turf…not sure where you are getting your facts, but you need to do some better research

            you clearly are thinking about 1980’s turf…time to get into the 21st century…beauty of technology

      • Guest

        “Nice” doesn’t make turf burns feel better.

      • guest

        It’s so nice that the men chose to play on it in Brazil, right?

  • Lawrence

    I hope Blatter would try that same logic/quote for the next world cup with men. Will see how fast he gets run out of town (or country).

    • TsovLoj

      To be fair, he put a men’s World Cup in a scorching equatorial desert to be built by slaves. That’s not a huge improvement.

      • FF

        You know Qatar is nowhere near equator (basically same latitude as Miami), don’t you?

        • VFB

          You know the average summer high in ocean-breezy Miami is 88 – compared to 100 (often reaching 117) in Qatar, don’t you?

          • Guest

            And how does it affect the “equatorial” point?

        • Omar

          Several hundred miles south of Baghdad, where it gets 130F in July.

        • TsovLoj

          As a Minnesotan I consider Miami pretty equatorial.

      • nwslfan

        How do 2 wrongs here make it right?

  • prizby

    hypocritical that wambach whines about the turf for the womens world cup, but seemingly has not once whined about playing on turf for her club football.

    • Guest

      Several MLS venues are played on turf. If/when the US gets another men’s World Cup, I guarantee you they will not be playing on turf. The Swedish womens league had many turf venues. When they hosted the Euro championship last summer, all the venues chosen for the event had grass when the tournament took place. Turf was even replaced with grass in some facilities. So the inevitable comments about “but the NWSL has turf” are irrelevant.

      • prizby

        irrelevant? Wambach has not whined once about playing on turf in the NWSL…she seemingly doesn’t mind it for club football, there is 0 reasons why she shouldn’t mind it for international football

        • Diane (DeeG)

          One reason any female player should whine about turf at WC and not at NWSL is discrimination. At the WC level NO men’s competition is or will be mandated to play on turf. There are many practical reasons that women and men play on turf at club level. This is not club level, this is the highest level of the sport and should be treated equally for women and men.

          • prizby

            if we are talking about equality than, we should also have 32 teams in the World Cup right? How about equal prize money? They should also have an equal amount of tv viewers…all those people that watch the mens world cup, should be forced to watch the women’s world cup too

          • ctsmith73

            That’s quite a leap. We are discussing the quality of the product and something that will severely degrade it.

          • Tim

            But it won’t degrade it… 99% of the folks watching wouldn’t know any different. Half of these players play of turf already.

          • ctsmith73

            Except that it will. There is more ball bouncing and the players play gingerly on turf. While a casual observer may not realize it, he will be viewing a less impressive and less beautiful product which translates into lost viewer retention.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            Yes, everything about the administration of the game should be equal. The women’s game worldwide cannot support a 32 team tournament. Prize money within the federations should be equal, but that’s a federation level issue, not FIFA. I’m not going to play into the juvenile portion of your argument about forcing people to watch.

            Expectations that playing surfaces be equal is not unreasonable, by any stretch.

          • rufan

            FIFA does pay bonuses based on team’s advancement.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            That’s why i said it was a federation level issue, not FIFA.

          • jayme

            The under 20 world cup was played on turf.

          • Albus Grimley

            International sport is not necessarily the ‘highest level’. I’d argue that, for example, the UEFA Champions league is a higher level (better players and competition) than the world cup.

          • wosofan

            Not in the women’s game

          • Diane (DeeG)

            I’d just offer that representing your country at the world cup level is the highest level. Representing your club is different.

        • JAF

          A lot, if not most of the women in the lawsuit play club on turf. Yet you seem to pick out Wambach., not Morgan or the other 38 women.. So you obviously don’t like Wambach. This is the WORLD CUP not a start up league that is trying to find its way (NWSL) Take your dislike for Wambach elsewhere and stick to the real issue.

          • prizby

            http://womens.soccerly.com/2013/03/22/wambach-world-cup-not-the-place-for-artificial-turf/ she was the first to bring it up…if she and the other woman don’t like it, they are free to not play

          • ctsmith73

            If the women lose this fight, and the men are forced in the same direction in the future, will you be calling Neymar a whiner when he protests?

          • prizby

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/2300940/Champions-League-final-New-surface-at-the-Luzhniki-Stadium-could-be-an-embarrassment.html seems like when they put grass over the turf in Russia, it was a colossal failure…this must be what the women want, right?

          • Greg

            So your argument is “this one solution didn’t work at a stadium thousands of miles away almost 7 years ago, so we should go with the artificial turf.” Really compelling stuff.

            Fact of the matter is, when it comes to top quality soccer, it’s grass. Period. That’s why big European club and international teams require US stadiums to put in temporary grass fields over turf.

            Heck, even the U.S. did it in 2003 when then-PGE Park installed a temporary grass field over the turf for the 2003 Women’s World Cup.

          • prizby

            you mean like the temporary grass they are NOT putting down for the all-star game:

            http://www.oregonlive.com/timbers/index.ssf/2013/12/major_league_soccer_announces.html

            “Bayern Munich has agreed to play on the turf at Jeld-Wen Field”

          • Guest

            The MLS All star game is a meaningless spectacle designed to bring money and attention to the league. Bayern Munich only agreed since they are trying to break into the American market and want to participate in this “high profile” event. Comparing this event to a World Cup is desperate attempt to justify your poor argument.

          • prizby

            funny how such a high profile event, so you suggest, only had 2 countries bidding to host…the other Zimbabwe, which withdrew its bid. No other country was prepared to step up to host, yet their players are more than capable of stepping up and whining…they don’t like, they don’t have to play, I am sure there are plenty of other people in their countries that would be more than happy to put on their country’s shirt and represent their country at a World Cup

          • ctsmith73

            Another fallacy! You’re going for elite status. The USA would not have been able to bid since we’ve hosted multiple times, relatively recently.

          • prizby

            another fallacy you say…so where is the official statement you have just made up saying USA was not allowed to bid?

          • ctsmith73

            Feel free to fact check. There are guidelines. Probably nothing to prevent the USA from bidding but likely wouldn’t have been awarded because of past recent tournaments.

          • prizby

            feel free to actually come up with proof instead of spewing a load of crap

          • ctsmith73

            Right, because your string of fallacious arguments and now something bordering on a personal attack is worth arguing with. If you really want to know, just Google it, but I’m not inclined toward further discussion with you.

          • prizby

            google says canada and zimbabwe bid for the tournament and no one else was interested…the end.

          • ctsmith73

            Ok bud.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            Demean the players somewhere else. If you don’t want to watch them play, don’t. They earned the right to play on grass.

          • prizby

            if this is discrimination, then holy, we could talk about a whole lot of other discriminating things in sport.
            #OMGITSRAINING

          • Davis

            Yes, we could. Gender discrimination in the sporting world is neither new nor uncommon.

          • Steglitz49

            Strictly speaking it is sex discrimination.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Yay! At least one person here knows the difference between sex and gender. ;-)

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            Yes, we could, but this is the issue at hand.

          • prizby

            if they have earned this ‘right’, then why did no other country step up to host…these players should be blaming their own countries for not bidding for the Women’s World Cup instead of slandering Canada and the CSA

          • Greg

            Once again, someone in the comment section provides a totally irrelevant follow-up to an argument. Saying that Portland didn’t put in grass for a glorified club preseason friendly has nothing to do with Canada not putting in grass for the most prestigious women’s soccer tournament in the world.

          • ctsmith73

            It’s difficult to discuss anything with you trotting out false equivalences with each post.

          • JAF

            The first please, I think not, the most known worldwide probably Sorry you are shortsighted and don’t understand the real issue here. Men would NEVER play the WC on turf and if you think otherwise you obviously know nothing about FIFA or the soccer world. But I already know by your previous comments you don’t!

    • Guest

      One is a tournament and the other isn’t. Between turf, flying, and the schedule and it being the biggest event in their careers it is a totally different situation.

    • Brian

      That’s because she possesses something called perspective. The NWSL is a fledgling league trying to get started with a limited budget and limited options. This is the World Cup, run by a multi billion dollar entity. It alongside the country of Canada have the resources to play this tournament on grass, but have chosen not to. The NWSL and those teams don’t have those options if they want to stick around. Wambach and others realize that.

    • 742

      It appears to me (even as a fellow Canadian) that your comment is tinged with blatant nationalism and anti-Wambach sentiments. NWSL = a league. FIFA = the governing body of the largest sport on this planet. NWSL =/= FIFA. Your comment is a shining example of false equivalence.

    • Lorehead

      Keep in mind, her complaint is that the men get natural grass, and that it’s discrimination that the women don’t get it too. The turf she plays on for the Flash is the same turf the local men’s team, the Rochester Rhinos, play on too. Likewise, Angerer, Morgan and Boquete are not about to demand to stop playing in Providence Park, but they get to use the same facilities as the men, so there’s no discrimination. (Also, there’s one more equally-famous Thorn whose name is conspicuously absent from this petition.)

      • prizby

        keep in mind that they are using most of the same stadiums that were used the last time a World Cup was hosted in Canada (played by men)…no discrimination there

  • Diane (DeeG)

    The issue is as much about discrimination as it is the actual playing surface. To mandate that women play on a different surface than men is discrimination. Period. To be told you have to play on a surface different than the men at the highest level of your game, for the biggest prize is discrimination. The quality of the different surface has improved over the years, but it will never be grass. The men have not been mandated to play on an artificial surface at this level and probably won’t be. Qatar will not be artificial.

    The fact that millions of players use an artificial surface at a lower level has absolutely no relevance to grass at the World Cup level. At lower levels artificial surfaces are practical in many circumstances and allow many people to play the game in conditions that otherwise might not support grass for either financial or climate reasons.

    I applaud every player with their name on this document. There is strength in numbers and these are strong women. I’m positive there are hundreds, if not thousands of other players behind them, at every level.

    The saddest part of this is that it had to come to this. I’m not convinced that if the top male players in the world sent a letter to FIFA saying they don’t want to play a World Cup on grass it would have been ignored and players told – take it.

    I am thrilled to hear of this lawsuit if for no other reason than it will show the detractors that women are more than complainers and in this instance they are standard bearers. Like the players before them, they refuse to accept less, be treated less than and allow the game to be treated with less respect than it deserves.

    I also hope there are more than a few highly paid, highly regarded, male players willing to back their soccer sisters in this fight.

    • jayme

      The brand new turf in Otttawa is like grass not much of a difference.

      • Random

        Have you played on it? How would you know?

        • jayme

          From watching a few games on it plus what players have said they love it.

          • Juan Peinado

            It’s great if you have no skill and are a bruiser of a player. But other countries will not like it.

      • guest

        Tell that to the turf burns.

    • 9786

      I understand them not wanting to play on turf, because turf is worse than grass. But they aren’t playing on turf because they’re women. They’re playing on turf because that’s what the fields are here in Canada. There are rumblings about a men’s World cup being put in Canada. Guess what, they’d be playing at the same stadiums the women are. And the men will never come to Canada, in part because of the turf fields. It has nothing to do with women being inferior. There are tons of turf fields all over Canada and the world, and they are not solely for women. This is trying to find discrimination where there is none. If you want to complain, complain about the decision for all these stadiums to have installed turf in the first place. Not about how women are being discriminated against – because that’s absurd.

      • JD

        But if Canada hosted the Men’s World Cup, you can bet they would be putting down real grass (Didn’t USA do that at the Silverdome in 1994?) just for the tournament before reverting back to turf.

        • Timbo

          Turf was not FIFA approved back in the 90’s… The stuff they use now is light years away from that stuff and is FIFA approved.

          • Guest

            It is established Canada is experimenting with the women as a step in their bid for the men. It is sickening.

          • prizby

            i see no one else stepped up to the plate and bid on hosting the world cup

          • 742

            And yet, it’s still not grass. It doesn’t have the same properties as grass. The ball moves differently than it does on grass. It takes a different toll on players bodies (knees and ankles in particular) than it does on grass.

        • Steglitz49

          The grass for the Silverdome was grown outside on hexagons (maybe it was octagons) that were brought into the stadium and bolted together to make a grass pitch. After the match they were disassemble and again put outside in the sun before the next match.

          Since then a stadium designer created a soccer pitch that is rolled outside to be in the sun (usually into the car park). That system is quite common today.

          The roll-out pitch was not possible for the new Wembley stadium when they found that the grass did not grow well because the pitch is below the road surface. The old Wembley stadium had glorious grass, like a billiard table. Pia Sundhage scored the first ever woman’s goal at Wembley and Caroline Morace later scored four goals there in one match.

      • 742

        I’m saying this as a Canadian and a huge CanWNT fan, the CSA refusing to install grass for the biggest tournament in women’s soccer is appalling. If Toronto FC didn’t hesitate to roll out grass for a friendly against Real Madrid back in 2009, I don’t see why the CSA with help from the Canadian government can’t do the same. If you don’t have suitable surfaces to host the world’s game, don’t bid on the event.

        If Canada were to get the 2026 World Cup, you could bet that getting grass pitches for all of the venues would be a high priority, and most likely required by FIFA. Nobody wants to play on turf because it heightens chances for injuries to occur, and FIFA and the CSA would never imagine of hosting a men’s world cup on artificial turf. The men would revolt before Blatter could finish the sentence “The next FIFA World Cup will be played on artificial turf”. And yet, the women are expected to sit down an take it.

        But today’s a day that ends in “y”, and so the Canadian Soccer Association will continue to be a joke of an organization. It seems like you don’t know anything about the CSA or FIFA. Are you new to the sport?

        • prizby

          if you remember that grass was awful for the Real Madrid game…chunks were flying all over the place…it was actually more dangerous than playing on turf

        • kernel_thai

          The company (FIFA) line on the Canadian bid for 2026 is by then turf technology will be even more improved and it probably will. Here’s my question…if turf is acceptable in 2015 why wont we be seeing it in Russia in 2018?

      • Diane (DeeG)

        They are playing on turf because as women they are not respected at the same level the men are. They are playing on turf because both FIFA and CSA think it is OK. FIFA and CSA would not, and have not played a world cup on artificial turf, of any quality. Men would not accept it, but women are expected to. That is discrimination.

        • Anthony

          Pretty sure FIFA doesn’t give a damn about men and women, they care about money. I doubt the men are thrilled to be playing in the heat of Qatar.

          Fact of the matter is Canada was FIFA’s only option, and it’s Canada who is organizing the tournament so if the players want someone to go after it should be the CSA.

          Would FIFA attempt to make the men play on turf, in spite of their rules saying it would be ok. Of course not, but not because they’re men, just because they, along with their clubs, federations and leagues would raise hell, and it would carry far more weight than what the women are doing. Wambach and co just don’t have the same kind of influence.

          FIFA can’t exactly both accept latest generation turf a an acceptable surface AND finance grass fields for Canada. They’d be completely contradicting themselves.

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken. In the (unlikely) event that the Canadian courts were to rule that the CSA must run the tournament on grass, then FIFA could offer the tournament to a country which has fields of grass and has staged a world cup recently, such as Brazil or South-Africa, instead of paying for grass in Canada. They could also pay for grass in a poor country.

      • Guest

        They are absolutely playing on turf because they are women. If the mens world cup is held in canada it will be played on grass.

    • Apee

      “The fact that millions of players use an artificial surface at a lower level”

      I’d say that the MLS is a higher level than women soccer right now and they use turf.

      • ctsmith73

        Average MLS game attendance is around 18K, which is at the higher end of the range of USWNT and Thorns matches.
        Maybe MLS shouldn’t use turf either.

      • Diane (DeeG)

        In the women’s game a world cup is the highest level. MLS is club level.

    • jayme

      When Canada did host the under 20 world cup most games were on turf then pan am games next year yup all games will be on turf .

      • Diane (DeeG)

        Both not Senior Level World Cup. When you have a Senior Level Men’s World Cup to compare, let me know.

        • reidjr

          What if the Csa and Fifa came back and said ok we will put down grass but there will be 6 more teams added i wounder how many would support that.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            I have no idea how that relates to grass over turf. Or what your point is. They are not asking for more or less teams, they are asking to be treated in the same manner as the men regarding WC venue playing surfaces.

    • Grayson Soprovich

      No.. this is the problem with society, an issue very small becomes about discrimination when it is in fact not.

  • luke

    Pardon my ignorance, but why there is problem with grass fields in Canada/Northern US? Isn’t the climate there suitable for those kind of pitches?

    • ctsmith73

      $$

      • kernel_thai

        Yep. The problem isnt with the turf its with the seats. In Canada and US if u build a large capacity stadium it’s for American football. If they were looking to play this in smaller soccer specific venues and not maximize the revenue, it would be on grass. The most telling part for me is the best soccer facility in Canada, Toronto’s BMO Field, isnt being used for WC2015. While turf seems to be good enough for the elite womens players in the world, only grass seems good enough in Toronto.

        • luke

          OK, but why American football isn’t played exclusively on grass? Wouldn’t it be best for players health and they have $$ for that, don’t they?

          • necron99

            Because the NFL players union isn’t about the totality of what is best for the players. They don’t fight for their health. Or they would have fought to get rid of the original crappy AstroTurf fields. They only fight for money. They are only now getting involved in concussion stuff because of the dollar value.

          • Guest

            The movement in soccer is different than American football. You don’t slide tackle in American football. You don’t wear all that equipment in soccer. You don’t run 90′ in American football. The medical studies are different.

          • AlexH

            I lived in Oregon which is the grass capital (in more than one way) of the US. Surprisingly though it is very difficult to maintain a good grass field there. I played a lot of soccer and ultimate disk and found that fields that held up in the Winter wet were like concrete in the Summer and fields that were playable in the Summer disintegrated in the Winter, I think that is the major reason that the soccer stadiums in Cascadia don’t use grass.

          • luke

            Do American footbalers play in the winter? :o

          • luke

            and MLS doesn’t have winter break?

          • AlexH

            MLS plays from March to November unlike most European leagues so they are off during the Winter. They took a break this Summer for the World Cup however.

          • AlexH

            Yes they do and in the Pacific NW the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks play on artificial turf like the Seattle Sounders in the MLS.

          • luke

            Thank you for explanation.

            Interesting stuff.

          • Davis

            Yes. Decent grass fields turn to absolute muddy mush in the long, rainy winters here.

        • fourTurns

          Toronto isn’t in WC 15 because they’re holding the Pan Am games and didn’t want WC to overshadow it.

  • Steglitz49

    Leading up to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, women skijumpers tried to sue to get their sport on the Olympic program. The case failed. I seem to remember it was because the Canadian courts decided that they had no jurisdiction over the IOC.

    It is probably fair to say that trying to take the winter olympics to court in Canada had the effect of forcing the IOC’s hand.

    Women’s skijumpig was part of the World Championships in Liberec in 2009 before the Vancouver olympics and in Oslo 2011 but only the normal hill. In Val de Fiemme in 2013 in addition to the normal hill there was also a combined competition but in the OG in Sochi earlier this year the women only competed in the normal hill.

    The combined event i Val de Fiemme showed why the men do not like women jumpers. The ladies are more glamorous than the men. They jump at least as far and often further. Also, while the men have trouble meeting the weight regulations this is not a hassle for the ladies. In short, in a free for all, the networks would opt for the ladies and junk the male jumpers.

    I am not persuaded that the situation with WC-15 is quite the same, though bearing pressure might have a desired effect.

    • wosofan

      Thanks for this post. That jurisdictional ruling in 2010 regarding the IOC will be a precedent for the sides to consider in this current dispute.

  • VaFan51

    I remember Billie Jean King’s advice to Julie Foudy years ago about equalizing pay in the run-up to the Olympics: the only bargaining tool you have is yourselves. Thus, we got a strike, with scab players, etc., and it worked in that case.
    Nobody expects this situation to come to that, but the principle is the same — equal treatment for both genders.
    Unfortunately for all the women involved here, the only language Blatter, et al. understand is money. Sepp understands bribery. Now, if we could get the right Qatari to speak to him…
    Another distressing thing about the situation is the near total silence of Canadian women players on this issue. That is sad and cowardly. Their voices might carry some weight here.

    • Guest

      Sinclair wouldn’t even support her fellow players about NT wages earlier this year. When your star player won’t say anything even at level don’t expect anyone to step up at this.

    • nwslfan

      Agree. Billie Jean and the players who stood up and insisted upon their terms concerning equal compensation at the major tournaments won that issue at personal financial risk. Now women tennis players are the top paid women in any sport. The money at risk for the women soccer players is larger and the issue is quality of playing surface. Lawsuit with injunctive relief may be the correct move.

  • dw

    Why not just follow established procedure and send hookers and liquor? Seriously, though, good for the women. I hope the win.

  • kernel_thai

    If u want an example of the difference between turf and grass, look no further than the play Diana Matheson made at the end of the Spirit /Red Stars. No long pop up slide to save the ball and no game winning goal at the death. On turf that ball just skids out of bound.

    • ctsmith73

      X infinity. With players already turning away before the ball skids out of bounds. (That was a supreme moment, btw. Thanks for bringing it up).

    • Silver Frost

      On plastic that slide results in a skin graft and three months rehab.

    • jayme

      The new turf does not.

      • nwslfan

        No no no. The plastic blades w rubber pellets is a far faster surface and is much more abrasive (see Winters’ knee burns). Natural Grass is the gold standard surface and women deserve the same gold standard surface for the World Cup. Agree w Diane. Anything less is based upon lack of respect and is discriminatory by Canada Fed and FIFA.

        • Guest

          Winters talked about in a split second trying to decide if she wanted to rip the skin off herself to get the ball or not… she decided to and that is what happened. Lots of players wouldn’t do that. Winters might second think that next time.

          Do you really want top players showing up to the final looking like a mummy or changing the way the game is played so they aren’t in those situations all for the sake of injuries they wouldn’t get on grass?

          • nwslfan

            I don’t follow why you ask me this. I agree and I supported Kernel’s comment.

  • EverTheGreen

    Hasn’t Canada heard of GrassMaster? That’s what’s in Wembley.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desso_GrassMaster

    • slc1997

      Doesn’t work for Gridiron Football. GrassMaster can’t handle one NFL game a year let alone an entire CFL season.

      • BigBeard

        Except for the 3 NFL stadiums that have used it for years – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desso_GrassMaster

        • slc1997

          Wow always though Lincoln Financial Field was real grass. I wonder what they do different that the field holds up. Either way, the Wikipedia article says that it does require the same kind of care grass does. That defeats the purpose of having the artificial turf used in Canada which isn’t supposed to need recovery time.

    • Neil W Humphrey

      Grass and grass hybrids are too expensive for NA fields that handle multi-sports and concert events. Most European soccer stadia are sport specific hence the field gets used for 1-2 games a week. Teams practice on other grass fields or AF. Some clubs have multiple spare grass fields so they can cut turf out to replace the bad turf in the game pitch. Some clubs are growing spare fields as turf or turf in trays to put into the stadia after a concert ie Wembley.

  • trev

    There is an argument for both sides. 4 of the 6 stadiums are dual purpose (Canadian Football League) so the field would get chewed up, especially if the weather is terrible.

    I don’t believe this is a case of gender discrimination (Just opinion). The U-20 men have played on turf when the tournament was in Canada (Not all fields were turf however). I’m sure that Arturo Vidal, Luis Suárez and Sergio Aguero were not happy to play on turf, but they did.

    I know it’s not fair but unfortunately nobody will ever get to the stage that the Men’s World Cup is at. Their are talks about 2026 world cup bid here in Canada and they would definitely not be playing on turf. Is it a double standard? Yes, but I don’t believe its Men vs Woman, it’s the Sr. Men vs Everyone else.

    • 742

      They were also playing U-20. Don’t compare teenage players to the best talent that women’s soccer has to offer. Nobody is pushing for the U-20 Women’s World Cup (which begins today) to be played on grass instead of turf because it doesn’t carry the same level of significance. U-20 anything isn’t what kids dream of playing in when they start playing a sport. To have to WWC held on turf while the men’s WC is held on grass is illogical.

      • Ms Stanton

        Don’t depend on logic in court cases. I can’t wait to see the reason the judge dismisses this lawsuit. It will be epic in its misogyny.

      • LawsonL

        Yeah don’t compare, because the U-20 boys are much better

        • guest

          Can you please take your misogyny somewhere else?

        • 742

          That was really edgy, bro. My mistake for trying to have a rational conversation with a Republican. Your kind would fall back on underhanded digs at an entire group of people (in this case, women’s athletes) you have no idea about. It’s simply par for the course. Trying to get some backwater inbred boy to understand that concept of separate fields of competition is like trying to teach quantum mechanics to a giraffe. Ignorance is embedded in your existence.

        • JD

          Yeah tell that to everyone who agrees the 2011 Women’s World Cup final was better than the past 3 Men’s World Cup finals.

  • AlexH

    The best thing that can happen to women’s soccer is that it makes money, and the worse thing that can happen is that it becomes a hotbed of litigation. I don’t think the tournament organizers are out to get women but are taking measures to ensure that the tournament succeeds financially. It’s not like countries making it rain hookers and bribes to host future world cups for the women.

    • wosofan

      Profit (healthy profit) is not incompatible with grass fields. I’d argue that turf will hurt TV viewership, which is where a lot of dollars come from. I also believe the game is more physical and disjointed on turf and you risk injuries to top players, especially with the short turnaround between matches. Anyway, Germany’s World Cup on grass did well financially on grass.

      • AlexH

        Different countries have different resources and constraints. Germany has a lot of state of the art soccer stadiums with state of the art grass so they didn’t have to make any changes. Canada does not. If it really were the case that the WWC in Canada could make more money by putting in grass they would do so, unless of course they are too dumb to know their own business or the are foregoing profit just to discriminate against women. I don’t think either is the case.

        • Diane (DeeG)

          I’m not sure your argument concerning resources is valid. Canada has the resources to have grass for 2015. And they also have laws that prohibit discrimination. Precedent has been set by changing surfaces for men’s matches. This could definitely work against CSA.

          • AlexH

            There is a difference between having the resources to do something and having the resources to do things profitably. I don’t know a thing about Canadian law so I have no idea how a court would rule, but I don’t believe that the World Cup organizers have any other motive other than to have a successful tournament

          • Diane (DeeG)

            You said different countries have different resources, I addressed that. Canada have the resources. I’m sure they could change many things to make the WWC more profitable and still accommodate grass fields.

          • LawsonL

            Different does not mean discrimination.

          • guest

            It is discrimination when FIFA would flat out not allow a men’s world cup to be played on turf but they’re just fine letting women play a world cup on turf.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            In many instances it does mean discrimination. Asking a class (women) to something different than you would ask another class (men) to do is discrimination. Their is no gender based reason this has to be different.

          • Neil W Humphrey

            Canada does not have the resources to put in temp grass fields which revert to AF after the events.

            GIGA and IOC bid books put these entities outsidesome of the hosts laws. The 2010 Olympics with the IOC saying no to women’s ski jumping didn’t win in the Canadians courts as a discrimination cases. Hence its going to be tougher for this case to win even though Bodies is top of the feeding chain. Even if the players win there is nothing to stop FIFA from saying take it or leave it which was the threat the IOC used in 2010.

            bottom line is the 2015 is about not enough funding in a football/soccer country that has maybe 1 SSS in Toronto which is hosting the Pam Am Games and didn’t apply for the 2015 event.

            Although the suit is about discrimination a underlying possible 2nd thought could be players wanting the game in a country with grass fields and bigger stadiumsstadiums. That equates to more money to the teams that have CBAs with little or no rewards to countries with no CBAs

            BTW BC place will have a FIFA Star 2 AF for 2015. Grass would be better but they can afford it also temp grass fields are not as good in some cases as AF

          • Diane (DeeG)

            I challenge you to prove they do not have the resources.

            I do not think any players are asking for the country to be changed or the stadiums to be bigger. They are simply asking to be treated the same in respect to playing surfaces. It really isn’t much more complicated than that.

            If FIFA threatens to pull out of Canada, then they will have masterminded their own downfall.

          • Neil W Humphrey

            It’s a simply ask granted but its a big ask where the money comes from and getting stadiums owners to entertain a 1 month pop up event

            You can find my years of reference documents and posts on the CSA and the CANWNT in the Women’s from at The Voyageurs. Here is a search string for you

            http://www.thevoyageurs.org/index.php?app=core&module=search&section=search&do=search&fromsearch=1

            CSA’s reference documents here –
            http://www.canadasoccer.com/reference-documents-s14657

            The CSA barely breaks even and has no where the deep pockets as the USSF. One of the jokes North of the 49th is that the USWNT budget is almost as big as the whole CSA budget. That’s why the CANWNT only get $18k a season and the money comes from the Sports Canada (government) and not the CSA. The CANWNT get some extra restricted funds from the COC but it doesn’t go into the pocket of the players who don’t have a CBA. OTOH the USWNT has a CBA and the top 20 are guaranteed $60k+ each a year. Go to Europe and players at Olympique Lyons make even more. Bottom line is women’s soccer in Europe and the USA is were the money is on and off the field for the players and the facilities they use..

            The major funding of the WWC 2015 is coming from the 3 levels of government/taxpayers. Taxpayers in Canada especially in the West are tapped out due to the cost of housing and living. Hosting world events isn’t such a big cash cow as it use to be.

            FIFA has the money but they are an old boys club of crooks as we all know.

            I appreciate your passion for this cause but it has limitations I have already bounced my head off many times for the CANWNT. I’m all for the WWC being played on grass but the reality is funding/money for temp grass fields and the stadiums they would go into.

            Also here is a search string for the ski jumpers vs the IOC in the 2010 Olympics. Note we don’t have a Title IX or a Ted Stevens Act. It’s civic in this case and they might have been better off using the CCoRF

            https://www.google.ca/search?q=2010+olympics+ioc+court+against+ski+jumpers&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:%7Breferrer:source?%7D&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&gfe_rd=cr&ei=26nhU-2cA8jtiALY2YGICg&gws_rd=ssl

            Sadly this WWC 2015 case is very similar and FIFA could be beyond the reach of Canadian law with respect to the event. Going against the IOC or FIFA is really tough due to the bid books contents regarding the host countries laws.Some of it includes tax, immigration, civil and more.

            Boies et all is an excellent law firm for this cases. I followed them for years in the NYSC reping the USA vs Switzerland for the America’s Cup. Search “america’s cup sng vs ggyc ”

            I live in Vancouver and we rarely build grass pitches for the same reasons the WWC 2015 which is they are too expensive to install and maintain. They have a short life span compared to the 8-10 years a AF is guaranteed for. When it comes to tax dollars politicians are cautions.

          • nwslfan

            of course. The $100M question is why host nations do not bargain to receive financial support from FIFA to create or upgrade their facilities in order to host a WC/WWC event to FIFA’s standards (meaning, specifically, build the luxury boxes for the big bucks tickets that will be controlled and sold by FIFA). FIFA makes the lion’s share of money in the event, but enjoys “non-profit” status, so it is not even taxed bc on the huge profits reaped. the “economic generator” argument for local municipalities has lost favor in the last 20 years concerning the Olympic games (only a handful of OLY games have been economically beneficial for the host nation/city).
            I think the tipping point may come with Qatar 2022.

          • Steglitz49

            WC-11 was financially successful. Merkel did not need to put her hand in her pocket.

            I suspect WC-99 also was a money-spinner. Can’t speak for the rescued 2003 one, while 2007 was in China so other accounting applied.

          • Neil W Humphrey

            Good point on hosting nations asking FIFA for some money to upgrade facilities. My guess is the bid process book states that FIFA will not fund the facilities.

            Sadly there is another issue which is whether the facilities want grass fields and the other FIFA in crowd stuff. Example is the 6 being used in Canada 2015 are either owned by a level of the government or a university. Hence taxpayer and donor monies mean fields have to be multi sport.

            If you are interested in reading about some of the possible BS that goes on in FIFA visit http://www.transparencyinsport.org/

          • Steglitz49

            The bidding process for the men’s WC is essentially that the various hosts submit a budget which they expect it will cost them. If they get more income, they get to keep the profit but if they lose money, it is their headache. FIFA gets all the revenue from the TV-rights and major advertisers and sponsors.

            That is why it was so significant in 2005, that Angela Merkel said that she (“Ich”) would underwrite the project when she exhorted the German FA to bid for WC-11. With that reassurance both the DFB and FIFA were happy as clams.

            It is such political connections that women soccer player need to develop. Entitlement syndrome only gets you so far.

            When even the EQ can’t be bothered to report on all the matches in U20 WC, we know we are on a sticky wicket.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            Thank you for your reply and the links provided. You make a great case for can’t. I still go with won’t.

            When Canada bid for Men’s WC 2026, I do not think artificial turf will be the surface. I could be wrong and if I am, what a sad day for soccer. If it is indeed not artificial turf, then the truth will be known.

          • Steglitz49

            What can the women hope to gain by their legal action?
            — That the Canadian courts rule that if the women’s WC-15 is played on artificial surface so must any future male WC? How would that benefit the ladies? (Anyway, courts prefer not to make manipulative rulings.)
            — That the legal process of discovery means that the CSA (and FIFA) have to show how they arrived at the decision to play on artificial surfaces? We already know that FIFA’s decision-processes are peculiar (to say the least).
            — That the Swiss courts arrest the FIFA top brass?

            It seems to me that the main benefitters are the legal eagles handling the process. If nothing else, they get free exposure for their craft, advertising they otherwise would have to pay for.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            I’m not sure why you seem to go to the extremes, but they hope to gain the attention of FIFA and the various world federations/associations. They hope to gain equal footing (no pun intended, maybe) with the men when conditions of play are set.

            They hope to get grass.

          • Steglitz49

            I was the first to bring up the ski-jumping case and that the pressure forced the IOC’s hand.

            A number of commentators, including myself, have pointed out that Canada is a very rich country yet the CSA can’t afford to put down grass.

            I also drew attention to the fact that Germany bid for WC-11 because the German Chancellor offered her express financial support. Just as WC-11 was Germany’s pigeon so is WC-15 Canada’s. What is missing is the relationship to high politicians decision makers and their support.

            WC-19 will be played on grass as will WC-23 and OG-16 and OG-20, so we are not arguing for the future as in the skijumping situation.

            The Champions League final will be played on grass again next year but w do not know the surface for the NWSL final yet.

            Someone in Canada must have known what was included in the approved Canadian and could have slipped the women players the word as a heads up. One assumes that it was left vague otherwise we will have learnt long ago. Also, Canada had the upper hand as the only bidder.

            There have been 291 comments on this story. Vancouver did not back down in 2010. Let’s hope Canada does the decent thing this time round but when on the day that the US and Germany played each other the big item in the “Edmonton Journal” was all about the Oilers off-season we can already guess what the likely outcome will be.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            If you look at your first point a different way – [“the..courts rule women’s WC-15 is played on artificial surface so must any future male WC”] – THIS is why male soccer players should be lending their support to this issue and backing the women.

            If the women lose this legal battle, it opens the door for FIFA to force men to play the World Cup on artificial surface in the future. We keep saying “it would never happen” for the men, but this is a way to make it happen. Maybe not in 2018 – perhaps in 2022.

            Point being, it’s a slippery slope. It wouldn’t fix the issue of discrimination, but it is difficult to prove (I think) when venues for WC for men and women aren’t the same from year to year. Meaning, if Canada hosts the men in 2022, only at that point would you know for sure if this decision for 2015 is discriminatory or just the first stop on the road to turf becoming standard for men and women at the highest level.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken but humans are not always so farsighted. Any Canadian court ruling would only apply to Canada unless a Swiss firm gets in on the act and a case is brought against FIFA in Switzerland.

            The discovery process should tell us a bit. It might answer the question of whether it was FIFA who wanted the cup on synthetic or whether it was Canada who had FIFA over the proverbial barrel. Knowing how devious and wily FIFA is, one assumes that they have covered their tracks but the CSA might not have.

            A couple of the wealthy players could between them have paid for natural grass (just like Zlatan paid for the Swedish handicapped team to go to and play in their world cup). FIFA have just announced that they will give the Australian FA $500,000 to help them develop their women’s game. It will be interesting to learn how much money FIFA is devoting to the women’s game.

          • Neil W Humphrey

            Sadly the legal history with the IOC vs 2015 ski jumper’s discrimination case makes this soccer one really unlikley to succeed. What makes this even worse than the Olympics case is that there aren’t the facilities with grass nor the facilities who want temp grass nor someone/taxpayers with the money. The Olympics had the ski jump already built.

            Alterative global money source could be FIFA if they weren’t so screwed up and corrupt. Also, maybe the players should get their home NSO to all contribute to their cause. If the players don’t get their way they should strike as the women’s game has been jerked around long enough by FIFA and its members. I’ve long stated the same about the peanuts the CANWNT gets from CSA when the CANWNT generates their own restricted funding via the Sports Canada and the COC performance matrix.

            As for the 2026 MWC, I like many don’t want to host it with taxpayer money for a team that is ranked in the low hundreds. Facility wise they will have the same issue as the WWC. There is no benefit to having grass fields for a pop up event or long term in facilities owned by the taxpayer. Personally in addition to the above there is no benefit to the amateur development pathway for youth As these global events plan to break even so there is no facilities or money to go to youth development.

            BTW in Canada the push to AF is due to the weather, cost and safety. A few years ago a UBC study on grass to AF came to the conclusion that there were more injuries on grass than AF as grass are poorly maintained. Myself as a coach, I avoided grass fields for my teams for that reason. I’ve read some of the FIFA AF research and its very impressive. I also see problems too as FIFA

          • Steglitz49

            Your point about preventing injuries is well taken. Every time I watch a ladies match and a player goes down on the ground I pray “Please, not another ACL tear”.

            With OG-16, WC-19, OG-20 and WC-23 on grass, the WC-15 will be an oddity. At the same time, when quite a lot of teams around the world, not least those in the NWSL, play on artificial surfaces, one can understand that FIFA lets the CSA try plastic, money or no money.

            FIFA started the WC in 1991 though before that there was an unofficial tournament (in Italy, I think) and Sweden with Portugal started the Algarve cup in 1994. In 1996 the US got women’s soccer into the Olympics and in 2003 the US rescued the WWC.

            WC-11 was a game-changer for women’s soccer. As a result >50,000 turned up for the 2012 ladies Champions League final and Euro-13 was almost totally sold out. The OG-12 SF between France and Japan attracted >61,000 to Wembley while the US-Can at Man Utd’s Old Trafford “only” got 27,000. The final was full.

            It is sad that the positions have become so locked for WC-15 but I agree with you that a quality artificial surface is better than bad grass. I presume that this is what FIFA wants to show in WC-15 because what else are they trying to prove?

            I don’t know who got Angela Merkel behind a bid for the WC-11. She has always been interested in soccer. She grew up in the DDR so it could have been the chap, who has piloted Potsdam’s ladies all these years, or it could have been the chairman of Wolfsburg, who is also the CEO of VW. We will never know but the lesson is, that it does not hurt to get the politicians on your side.

          • guest42

            I’m no legal expert or anything, but there seems to be a big difference between the two cases, and that’s precedence. The women ski jumpers never had an Olympic event before, and even though everyone might’ve thought they should, who’s to say the first one has to happen THIS year? There’s no precedence for it. On the other hand, there is a precedence for women playing in the World Cup. They’ve played six of them already since 1991–all on grass. And now you suddenly want to yank the grass out from under them? Excuse me, but there’s been a precedence for equal treatment of women playing in the World Cup, and there has to be a really good reason to change that.

          • Steglitz49

            Are you pitching your case against FIFA, who are based in Zurich in Switzerland?

            That requires that as Swiss law-firm takes on the case and fights a discrimination suit based on FIFA having conspired and connived to have WC-15 played on artificial surfaces, which men’s WCs have not been. Can lawyers for FIFA reasonably answer that because Canada was the only bidder in the end, FIFA had to be flexible to get a WC for women?

            If you pitch your case against the CSA, what is your case?

            Finally, how does any of this help everyday women around the world playing soccer?

          • guest42

            Yes, FIFA rigged the bidding process to make it appear they had no choice in the matter, when in fact they have near complete control over the tournaments they run, and being the corrupt, patriarchal, old-boys network that they are, they never dreamed that the women would object when they were told to be good little girls and play on turf. Hopefully the women will get their day in court and a ruling for them would send a clear message around the world that women must receive equal treatment to men.

          • Steglitz49

            I too want the world cup played on natural grass. If Sweden could for Euro-13, Canada can for WC-15. Where there is a will, there is a way.

            Let’s assume that the Swiss courts find that FIFA are in breach of some sex-discrimination legislation, what will be the consequences? The courts would need to know the background, which we don’t but hope to learn

            — the CSA’s bid could from the outset have been to play on artificial surfaces, which FIFA accepted;
            — the CSA after having been awarded the WC, came back to FIFA and said: “please, sirs, we can’t afford grass so please may we play on synthetic, which you allow” and FIFA answered: “We understand your pain. You may play on synthetic, as long as it is top class material.”
            — the discovery process shows that FIFA rigged the bidding from the start — this is the simplest because FIFA must then ensure the competition is played on grass or cancelled — it is also the most interesting and fun

          • guest42

            I don’t see how it matters how CSA and FIFA came to an agreement. If there was any criminality involved, the courts would certainly like to know that. The real question is whether turf is an inferior surface. I think most people would say yes. The question then becomes, how can you justify making women play on it?

          • Steglitz49

            I, like most people, prefer soccer on natural grass. Nevertheless, men and women play on artificial surfaces all the time. Most of the NWSL teams play on synthetic, and some of it very poor quality indeed..

            I expect that it matters from a legal point of view and therefore the consequences, how CSA and FIFA reached an agreement.

          • Steglitz49

            FIFA could move the WC-15 to a country with natural grass and recent experience of hosting a world cup like South-Africa or Brazil.

            FIFA could even pay for a poor country to get grass fields laid.

            Can FIFA justify paying for natural grass in one of the world’s richest countries when women in poor countries are dreaming of playing soccer on any reasonably flat surface?

      • LawsonL

        No one will choose to watch based on what the turf is

  • Jeff Smith

    Can someone provide evidence that the specific kind of field turf used at BC Place stadium increases a soccer player’s overall injury risk?

    I’ve seen studies that have shown essentially no difference in quantities or severities of injuries, but there have been some differences in the types of injuries.

    If there is no evidence to suggest that the Turf is unsafe, then these players (women, and the likes of Thierry Henry) should suck it up buttercup and play.

    • Ben

      What about the legitimate argument about how turf plays different than grass?

      • Jeff Smith

        All fields play a bit differently, especially when weather is involved.
        Do we see protests against players having to play on a damp field? In the rain? On a dried out field? I’ve seen games played at Stamford Bridge with massive puddles on the field…

        I fail to see how playing on artificial turf creates a more significant difference than these other factors. At least the turf is consistent, and especially with weather being removed as a factor due to the retractable roof.

        Everyone has to play on the same pitch, and so long as the pitch is suitable for football and safe to play on, there should not be an issue.

        • Harry Truman

          You have never played soccer. I would defer to the women who make a living at it.

          • LawsonL

            How do you know he hasnt played soccer.
            I did in HS , does that count.

          • guest

            When you have played it at the collegiate and professional level than both of you can voice a relevant and informative opinion on whether it’s good to play on turf or not. Until then I will differ to those who have.

          • Jay

            Says the guy who thinks just because padded NFL players play on turf that equates to same thing as a soccer player playing on turf. Just ridiculous. It effects the purity of game and it subjects players to a higher risk of being injured especially those who have had an acl injury in their past.

          • AlexH

            Well the 20,000 fans that saw the Thorns play this weekend or the throngs that regularly support the Sounders don’t seem to agree that the purity of the game has suffered for playing on turf. As for injuries there is zero evidence that turf is more dangerous than grass.

          • Guest

            Well, the multiple prominent Thorns players spearheading this campaign apparently do.

          • AlexH

            Its not like “the women who make a living at it” are all in agreement. The article states flatly that NONE of the Canadian women are in on this so maybe they like their fields just fine.

          • Davis

            Or maybe they just don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. The CSA pays their salary. They may be completely against playing on turf, but don’t want to speak against the CSA.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            The Canadian women were specifically not asked not to join the group because if it does go to court it is their CSA that will be involved. It would be unfair to ask the host country players to be put in a position to testify against their federation.

    • Guest

      Then let the men’s World Cup be where they experiment. I might actually think they’d be concerned with the men’s health and do proper studies. So far they have not allowed men to play the WC on a carpet. If it is so safe why has it not happened yet?

      With the women I know they don’t care so I don’t want the experiment to start with them. I don’t want to see a bunch of fatigued players chase balls around a fast surface and prove to everyone how ugly womens soccer is simply because the conditions suck. Water breaks won’t fix that.

      Canadians are ok with not taking care of their women’s team. That is a sad fact and now that backwardness is effecting all of the players participating in the WC. Being champions of inequality isn’t something to be proud of. This is a huge step back from Germany in 2011.

      • Jeff Smith

        Shocking to see that someone interprets the situation like this.

        You think they are intentionally experimenting with womens soccer, and are doing it because they “don’t care”.

        You dismissively a Polytan Field turn pitch which has a FIFA 2-star certification, the highest rating possible, a “carpet”.

        You accuse Canadians of being ok with not taking care of our women’s team..

        Maybe the situation is this, Canada won the world cup bid due to having a strong bid, with many suitable stadiums, and being a country on the rise in international women’s soccer. One of the best stadiums in the country happens to have FieldTurf instead of grass, which has been FIFA certified as safe.

        This isn’t about Men vs Women.

        • guest

          Canada won the bid because the only other country that bid dropped out. I’d advise you to do a little bit homework before you make misinformed comments. Turf is not healthy for the players and not one player on the men’s team would stand for playing on turf in a WC.

          • AlexH

            The fact that Canada was the only country to bid leads me to believe that it might be a bad idea to sue them.

        • Elaine

          It is about the men vs the women, though, when FIFA would not even think to have the men’s World Cup play on anything besides grass.

          • Lorehead

            Although they’re probably corrupt enough to bribe them into it.

        • Guest

          Canada’s main goal is the men’s World Cup. They think that having the women play there on turf is the first step to that goal. They outright said as much. So yes, the women are the experiment.

          Perhaps you didn’t pay attention to the contract flair up this year with the CanWNT. They don’t take care of their women’s team. It’s pathetic.

    • TN

      Try sliding on fake grass through 90 minutes and she what it does for your skin versus natural grass. Plenty and I mean plenty of bloody legs out there to prove it for you.

      • ccfc

        And to add, the fake rubber dirt pellets are the worst.

        • FawcettFan14

          Fake rubber pellets getting stuck in the raw bloody leg wounds is the worst. :(

  • LawsonL

    Half the teams in the NFL and many big colleges use the new artificial turf. Its just fine.

    • Ben

      American football which is played predominantly with hands is not the same as soccer.

      • AlexH

        A large number of MLS teams play on turf as well as do NWSL teams. In fact the largest drawing (by far) NWSL team plays on turf so it is tough to argue that playing on turf is inherently damaging to the sport.

        • Guest

          Actually Tobin and Pinoe recently complained about the surfaces of the NWSL. The toil on the bodies as well as the style of play it demands. Both of them have been battling injuries. Fans hate how the sport looks in Chicago. The game just looks better in the stadiums with grass. Everyone knows it but we also know NWSL is a poor league. We know Canada and FIFA aren’t poor and that the WWC isn’t a two year startup. We also know that the experiment would never be tried on the men’s WC. If it is so nice let THEM do it first. Somehow it hasn’t happened.

        • guest

          And yet all the big clubs in Europe play on excellent grass pitches. Men would have a fit if they were forced to play a World Cup on turf.

  • myviewpoint2

    Two issues here, 1/ why are the just now complaining about it when they have had since 2011, secondly they are Americans starting already in the game of political wrangling to get an edge.

    • Diane (DeeG)

      If you follow women’s soccer at all you would know this has been going on since 2013 when CSA announced the playing surface.

    • Elaine

      We are talking about the highest level, the World Cup. It is not about leagues, clubs, youth tournaments, etc. This is the FIRST time ever for such an event to be played on turf, men or women. It is a disgrace for FIFA to allow this to happen at an elite World Cup tournament , and a shame for Canada to not provide the best playing surface (grass) for such an elite tournament.

      • Steglitz49

        This looks like an nice legal experience, 40 years after the Watergate hearings. We can look forward to international lawyers and legal scholars as talking heads during half-time of the NWSL play-offs.

        If the case succeeds what will be the outcome? That the CSA puts down grass or have to pull out of the event?

        I doubt that FIFA can be sued in Canadian courts (please see skijumping case). Would the soccer assoc of one of the world’s richest countries go cap in hand to FIFA and say what? Give us the cash!

        FIFA might prefer to check if South-Africa or another African country would take on the women’s world cup at short notice. Poorest continent saves richest country …. FIFA might well help a poor country with a bit of money, but can they honestly justify giving money to one of the world’s richest countries?

        • Elaine

          I think the outcome they are looking for is for CSA to put down grass, and for FIFA to do what it can to help with that effort.

          • Steglitz49

            Why not simply move the tournament to a country with natural grass and experience of staging a world cup recently, like South-Africa or Brazil?

            You players force natural grass? You shall have natural grass.

          • guest

            Why not just have it in the USA where there are plenty of grass venues?

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. My feeling was that Abby having been so central and shouted loud, it might look bad to get help from her country again lest FIFA it might be accused of practicing simony.

      • reidjr

        Not true the under 20 mens world cup was played on turf.

        • Davis

          Youth tournament. Not the same thing at all. Elaine is correct. No tournament of this status has been played turf.

    • JD

      Angerer and Boquete are Americans that play for the USA? Damn, they’re guaranteed to win now!

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/JigsawWill Jigsawwill

    The people who are saying because American football is played on turf than it should be just fine for the FIFA Women World Cup should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Guest

      They are Canadians. They are proud of being ashamed of themselves. They are also proud of how poorly they treat their own NT players. Wanting to do things better is called whining. Especially if in a group of international players there are a few Americans supporting something.

    • slc1997

      The only stadiums in Canada capable of hosting the tournament are built for Football. The only option would be to put sod over the field, which is unpredictable and at times worse than artificial turf. FIFA was aware at the time of the bid that Canad planned on hosting the tournament on turf, but they were the only country that wanted the tournament. They really can’t alienate the only country willing to host the tournament.

  • Shane

    This is the dumbest thing I have heard all day! The world cup is less than 1 year away and the players are expressing that they don’t want to play on turf now! The world cup was made known public 4 years ago and people knew it would be played on turf! So why are they doing something about it less than a year away from world cup? Canada won’t get stripped because its to late to strip the country from the world cup and to be honest its going to be the best one ever!

    • Elaine

      Where have you been? This has been talked about and reported on since 2013. There was even a petition last year with more than 40 national team players from at least 10 different countries calling for natural grass in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. They just now got the resources together and do it through lawyers. Whether they succeed or not remains to be seen. At least it’s on the record for future cases.

      • Steglitz49

        “Resources”? The lawyers who acted for the women skijumpers (see my comment elsewhere) did it pro bono.

        • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

          Seems like this is exactly the kind of case law firms would jump at the chance to take pro bono. I would be surprised (and kind of offended) if the expense is coming from the players’ pockets.

    • Guest

      They didn’t announce stadium locations and their turf experiment until last year. At that time the players did in fact express their feelings about it. Now they are doing it again with more firepower.

      • Shane

        Non the less nothing major will be done. The turf in all the stadiums is rated 2 stars by fifa which is the highest the turf can be rated. International friendlies have been played on it so it shouldn’t be that big of an issue. If FIFA or other soccer associations want to pay for grass I could care less. But as a Canadian citizen I don’t want to pay for grass in 6 different stadiums that will only be used for 1 month and then have it reconverted back into football turf. It makes no sense and would be a waste of money.

        • Saku

          However, if the Men’s World Cup would be theoretically hosted in Canada, I’m rather positive, that they would have been taking YOUR money out of YOUR pockets for some sod turf that would have been only used for 1 month. It’s a waste of money, but it actually makes sense since the ball play is entirely different on turf, and also the plastic causes burns on these players that have to play on this artificial turf. Sure it’s much better nowadays, instead of a couple of years ago, but it’s not the same deal.
          And it’s not so much about the money, Brazil was devastated by the amount of money the fields for 2014, but FIFA made millions at least, maybe billions. So if it was such an issue, FIFA could easily pull over a tiny bit out of their pockets, and pay for the grasses themselves. But no, neither the government, or FIFA could risk ‘losing’ that amount to a Woman’s Soccer World Cup.

  • Elaine

    Some reactions out on the internet today:

    From former England captain Faye White:
    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28667254

    “Fifa would never dream of hosting a men’s World Cup on artificial pitches so why the women’s?”

    “This is a very strange decision.”She added: “It makes you wonder if the women are some kind of guinea pigs.”

    “I’ve retired from playing now but I would be really annoyed if I was expected to play on this. These pitches slow the game down, the ball bounces differently and there are more injury consequences.”

    “This is top level competition and we’ve always played on grass.”

    From Canadian soccer hall of famer Carrie Serwetnyk:
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/2014/08/05/womens_soccer_world_cup_in_canada_faces_human_rights_showdown_over_artificial_turf.html

    “Playing on grass, you can caress the ball better, the touch is magnificent. It’s what a player dreams of, to walk into a stadium, to have the perfect paying surface.”

    “To host the largest sporting event in history for women and not giving them an equal playing field as they would for men, not to give them the best surface possible, it’s insulting to the top women’s players in the world.”

    “We can do better. The soccer bodies are getting millions of dollars from our government to upgrade the stadiums for the women’s world cup. And who plays in these stadiums? Men. The least they can do is put down grass for the Women’s World Cup.”

    “We have a responsibility as a country to push forward for equality,” she said. “It’s really taking a step backward in saying women are second-class citizens in sports here.”
    “I know it’s an international pursuit, but I’m thankful . . . someone is stepping up. Hopefully it challenges the officials in charge and hopefully it wakes up Canadians.”

    • FawcettFan14

      Too bad England decided not to pursue a 2019 WWC bid. Plenty of pristine grass pitches in that country to go around, and existing stadiums of all sizes. No need for frantic infrastructure “improvements,” such as turf surfaces.

      Looks like France is the favorite now. Shouldn’t be problems there either, as far as pitch quality.

      • Elaine

        What is so interesting is that 10 countries had shown some interest in 2019 WWC, some bid others did not. But for 2015 WWC, only Canada and Zimbabwe? Even after the success of women’s soccer generated from Olympic 2012? Quite strange if you ask me.

        • Steglitz49

          Not strange. The bidding for WC-15 was completed before WC-11. WC-11 was a game changer for women’s soccer.

          Germany only bid for WC-11 as a result of a personal promise by Angela Merkel of support. At a speech to the German FA (with Blatter in the audience) in the fall of 2005 — Germany were about to host WC-06 — she said that seeing as Germany had so many good young ladies playing soccer she hoped that the German FA would consider bidding to stage a women’s world cup and she (I seem to remember her using the personal pronoun and not “the government”) would cover any shortfall. The next day a bid was submitted to FIFA.

          • Elaine

            6 countries shown interest in WC11 (Australia, Canada, France, Peru, Switzerland, and Germany). The final choice was between Canada and Germany. So interest went from 6 countries to 2 countries, and then back to 10 countries. Does that make any sense to you?

          • Steglitz49

            No.

            Once the German Chancellor in front of Blatter and other soccer heavyweights had made her (I checked, she said “Ich”) challenge to the German FA with her pledge of support (the words seem like an unscripted spur of the moment addition) it was game over.

            I presume Canada persevered so as to improve their chances of getting WC-15.

            The JFA has already told FIFA that they prefer not to bid in 2019 but will bid in 2023 because all the sporting events they are staging. FIFA appears to have accepted this, so WC-19 is up for grabs.

          • Elaine

            Just on the bid for WC15, it smells fishy. It looks as though the bid process was closed to the other countries. Canada is Blatter’s choice. Taken with what he is saying regarding “turf is the future” etc. etc, this WC15 is really an experimental project, and the women used as the experimental subjects.

          • Steglitz49

            FIFA wanted the next (2015) world cup in the US time-zone. Giving it to the US again so soon, was probably not the preferred option (and FIFA may well have wanted to have the US available if rescue was needed again). Brazil has the stadia but with WC-14 and OG-16, they may not have been that keen.

            Canada is a functioning country which has the infrastructure and functioning airports and roads, generally safe (no signs of guerillas etc) and therefore an obvious host. FIFA probably did not mind a bid based on artificial grass and, as you type, it may well have been what they desired.

            It will be fun to see whether a Swiss law-firm will step up to the plate over the Canadian grass.

          • Elaine

            The ball is on their side of the field now. The issue has been raised and hopefully talks will happen. Best case scenario is grass is put down. In the end, the players will not boycott and the tournament will go on in Canada.

          • Steglitz49

            Seeing the attendance of 4812 for the games played in Montreal (capacity 32,782; it was France v Costa Rica and NZ v Paraguay) and 3587 for the games played in Moncton (capacity 7862; England v Korean Republic and Mexico v Nigeria) one has some sympathy for CSA being reluctant to put down natural grass at huge costs.

            Add to this that Toronto refused to join in the ladies Worl Cup. Do you honestly believe that Toronto would have turned down the men’s version?

            Sweden played the Euro-13 matches on natural grass, as someone mentioned. It must have cost them a bomb because in the newly built stadium the grass did not grow well because of the peculiar weather so it had to be relaid just before the competition. That stadium was from the outset planned to have an artificial surface.

            That the players from the US and other countries who do not care about Nordic skiing might not remember the skijumping case is understandable, but the Norwegians, Swedes, French and Germans ought to have.

          • guest

            Maybe FIFA was laying groundwork for a future men’s WC in Canada which we’ve heard so much about. Yes, maybe it was a foregone conclusion that Canada would host the 2015 WC.

          • Steglitz49

            Why would you want to play a men’s WC in Canada? India would make more sense.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            What year would the bid have gone in? Before the financial crisis in ’08? What was happening in the world around the time that countries would have been bidding? Maybe something non-soccer-related was the culprit.

          • Elaine

            Maybe.

            As far as I could tell for 2015WC, bids needed to be in by Oct. 2010. FIFA had mentioned that they prefer the host country to run both the U20 WWC and the WC in sequence. In all honesty, when the news came out that Canada had won the bid, people did not realize it would be solely on turf. Or perhaps they wouldn’t even think such a thing could happen since this is THE world cup, the pinnacle of the sport, where it has always been played on grass for men or women. The uproar didn’t began until it was officially announced the turf situation in all the venues they chose. I guess in the back of people’s minds were the thought that Canada would lay down grass for the women’s tournament.

  • Neil W Humphrey

    The lawsuit will be a non starter in the Canadian Courts for the same reason the lawsuit to get women’s ski jumping into the 2010 Olympics did. Why? Language in bid books let FIFA and IOC act outside of some laws of the hosting countries. 2nd if push comes to push, the IOC or FIFA will walk. 3rd FIFA will have to pay for the one time grass pitches as the Canadian governments will see them as too expensive for pop up events as the stadium will have to revert to AF after the event as grass is to expensive to maintain.

    CANWNT don’t rock the boat as the players are not organized or unified like the USWNT. The CANWNT players basic pay is $18000 with no CBA. USWNT players basic is $65000 with a CBA. Because of this one group has clout and protection and the other does not.

    • mockmook

      Much better explanation than I just offered regarding CANWNT.

      I think the legal stranding might be different this time–we shall see.

      • Neil W Humphrey

        With the IOC ruling there is less chance this suit will move forward. Again if the players won their suit FIFA will walk.

        One of the problems with Canadian sports is there is no Title IX hence they can only use the CCoRF on discrimination. Canadian womens sports groups wanted a Title IX when Canada past their sports Bill but sadly the politicians told the women’s groups they would cut their funding as they saw a Title IX clause causing problem’s. Also Canada does not have a Ted Stevens Act where all sports are controlled at the top by the USOC. In Canada its the National Sports Organization.

        Boies et all are a awesome firm. I followed them for several years when they reped GGYC (USA) vs SNG (Switzerland) over the rules of the Americas CupCup in 2011 in the NYSC

        • WetCoaster

          The Charter does not apply to this case.

          • Neil W Humphrey

            The ski jumpers tried civil and didn’t get anywhere so what would be best?

          • WetCoaster

            The Charter was rejected in that case by Madame Justice Fenlon.

          • Neil W Humphrey

            Thanks. This doesn’t look good for grass then.

  • mockmook

    I suspect many women didn’t join the lawsuit because they didn’t want to be labeled “whiners” (see comments on this thread). And, I suspect some Canadian women refrained because of (for want of a better term) patriotism or unity.

    I hope they win. There is a marked positive difference on grass; the fact that the Men’s WC is always on grass is a clue.

  • hotstuff

    Stop yer whining and get your butts back in the kitchen. You got some cooking to do!

    • nwslfan

      Bwahaha you’ll go hungry!

    • f off

      cooking your weiner

  • BiasFighter

    I’m pretty sure I speak for a lot of Canadians when I say…Abby Wambaugh can go pound salt.
    Remember London, Canadian soccer fans. If Abby wants to referee or worry about turf, she should become a referee or a groundskeeper.

    • guest

      Aw, it’s too bad she understood the rules better than any of your team’s players. Sorry I’m not sorry.

  • kernel_thai

    It’s a bit misguided how the Canadian fan base seems to have rallied around turf. In my opinion playing on turf greatly reduces Canada’s chance to win the WC. They have an older team, especially on offense and seven games worth of pounding on turf favors younger teams. Turf also favors the pacier teams, which again does not describe Canada.

  • ccfc

    Did absolutely none of you play football? I don’t know one professional, semi or collegiate player who would say they prefer to play tournaments on turf. crazy.

  • WetCoaster

    These “lawyers” need to do a refresher course at law school

    How is this a Charter complaint? The Charter deal with government laws, regulations and actions.

    Application of Charter

    32. (1) This Charter applies

    (a) to the Parliament and government of Canada in respect of all matters within the authority of Parliament including all matters relating to the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories; and

    (b) to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.

    These female soccer players need to get themselves a real lawyer – or at least one knowledgeable about basic Canadian law.

  • WetCoaster

    In Toronto on Monday, at a press conference for the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup, FIFA president Sepp Blatter called artificial pitches “the future.”

    • Lorehead

      See, boys? No need to stand up for the ladies now, because it could never happen to you. And even if you were next, and all of you say by your silence that artificial turf is good enough for them, you would surely still have a leg to stand on.

  • Grayson Soprovich

    This is the stupidest thing i have ever heard. Discrimination? It’s about a surface, holy, not everything is about societal problems. FYI, artificial turf is now better than grass and if the Men’s World Cup was in Canada, it would be played on artificial. Its easier to put in because of our climate and better because it doesn’t tear apart. If it wasn’t so expensive, everyone’s lawn would be artificial. Abby Wambach quit crying, she should maybe still be thanking that Ref who gave the USA the game against Canada in the olympics. Also are german girls even good? Didn’t see them finish better than Canada in the Olympics.

  • Neil W Humphrey
  • WetCoaster

    This argument was tried when VANOC was sued by women ski jumpers and Madame Justice Fenlon dismissed the Charter argument and in that case there was much more in the way of ties to government than in this case.

    Madame Justice Fenlon sided with VANOC in its argument that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not apply as the IOC is not governed by the Charter nor does it fall under this court’s jurisdiction.

    “In summary on this issue, the plaintiffs have not established that the governments exercise sufficient control over VANOC to make “government control” a basis for finding that the Charter applies to VANOC.” Sagen v. Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, 2009 BCSC 942

    And FIFA is even more independent of government control than VANOC and the IOC.

    Madame Justice Fenlon also wrote while there was clear discrimination by the IOC there was nor Charter remedy available because the discrimination did… “not equate to a breach of s. 15 of the Charter because the Charter does not apply to either the IOC or the Rules under the Olympic Charter. As noted above, the plaintiffs’ claim is not against the IOC for refusing to add women’s ski jumping to the Olympics, it is against VANOC for implementing that discriminatory decision.

    There will be little solace to the plaintiffs in my finding that they have been discriminated against; there is no remedy available to them in this Court. But this is the outcome I must reach because the discrimination that the plaintiffs are experiencing is the result of the actions of a non-party which is neither subject to the jurisdiction of this Court nor governed by the Charter. The plaintiffs’ application is, therefore, dismissed.”

    IMHO the same reasoning would also apply to FIFA.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Artificial turf was used at the 2010 World Cup in Nelspruit (Mbombela) and Polokwane
    (Peter Mokaba), in the 2008 Champions’ League Final in Moscow, Russia, and speaking of Russia, several stadia to be used in the 2018 World Cup currently use or will be upgraded to artificial turf. But yeah, FIFA would never dream of this happening to the men’s game…

    • Guest

      For the 2008 CL final in Moscow, they removed the turf and replaced it with grass for the event. They were ordered to by UEFA.

  • Mike C

    Listen, anywhere else this might stand a chance, and I disagree with the use of turf for this as much as the next person, but IN CANADA, where the lawsuit is taking place, men play on turf as much as women. 3 of the 5 pro teams here play on artificial turf. Any arguments that include anywhere else BUT Canada aren’t relevant.

  • Guest

    Does the Canadian men’s national team play at any of the venues that have artificial turf when they play friendlies? I remember reading that they would only play in Toronto since it’s grass, so I am wondering if that has changed recently….

    • Steglitz49

      Toronto can’t be bothered with WC-15, as reported elsewhere, which gives you an idea what Canadians think of women’s soccer. I doubt that they would have turned down some matches in a men’s world cup.

      • Dropo

        Toronto can’t be bothered with the WC-15 because they are hosting the Pan-Am games that summer.

        • Steglitz49

          As I typed, I doubt that they would have been so snooty had it been men’s WC matches on offer instead of women’s.

  • IngoKn

    Sepp Blatter: Artificial Turf is the future of modern football (Statement found on YouTube) – http://youtu.be/0IEd5K8MFxE

  • AlexH

    Caught the game last night. The field seemed to play excellently if you happened to be German.

    • Steglitz49

      I presume you were ironic seeing that German ladies teams play most if not all their soccer on grass. Indeed, Germany is playing a friendly against Sweden in a small town where they happen to have the type of artificial surface that will be used in WC-15.

      • AlexH

        Irony was part of my motive, but I truly don’t think that the artificial turf affected the game any more than a grass field would.

        • Steglitz49

          Always look on the bright side of life. Last time the Germans won 3-0 in the group game and then the US won the final 1-0 against them. Shades of 1954.

          • AlexH

            When I see Helmut Rahn in a US uniform I’ll start looking on the bright side of things.

          • Steglitz49

            Well typed. Touché!

            Last time round Kealia Ohai was our Rahn. Maybe she will be for the seniors also one rainy day.

  • Elaine

    The view from the other side:
    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/08/05/players-start-legal-challenge-against-inferior-artificial-turf-at-2015-woment-world-cup-minister-says-complaint-not-appropriate/?__federated=1

    From Kellie Leitch, Canada’s minister for the status of women:

    “The Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, and Vancouver Whitecaps have all played on artificial turf … Thousands of professional athletes play on these high-tech surfaces on a daily basis.”

    “In short, while some of these players might prefer a grass surface, to say that playing on artificial turf is ‘second-class’ and constitutes ‘gender discrimination’ is not appropriate.”

    From Shannon Pederson, a member of the board of directors of the British Columbia Soccer Association:

    “The reality is that Canadian stadiums tend to have artificial turf. Technology has allowed for “great improvements” to surfaces over the years, she said, adding that FIFA closely inspected venues.

    “That being said, would FIFA ever consider the use of artificial turf in the men’s tournament? Most likely not,” she said.

    An official with the Canadian Soccer Association confirmed the organization received the letter and they are now waiting for direction from FIFA.

  • sailbum

    I do not buy the discrimination claim. I do not think that gender has anything to do with this. I think this is more about the tournament being held in a country with a climate that is not the best for growing grass and trying to have too many events in too short of a timeframe for the grass on the field to be able to recover between events.

    • Steglitz49

      A simple way to strengthen the case for natural grass would be to make sure that all the matches in the current U20 WC are sold out (or at least 70%). They are not.

      Rdalford, who keeps us right with the attendance figures, has typed elsewhere that attendance was 4812 for the games played in Montreal that has a capacity of 32,782 which is <15% and in a town of 1,6m in the town and 3.8m in the metro.

      In Moncton it was 3587 in a capacity 7862 giving a more respectable 46%. The Moncton numbers are very good given that only 70,000 live in the city and 140,000 in the metro area.

      Worse, 10,000 turned up for the USA-Ger match, a mega game given that they played in the final of the last U20 WC and are the big heavyweights in women's soccer. The official soccer capacity is 28k and the real capacity is 60k. Even with the smaller capacity it is only 36%.

      Canada's game in Toronto pulled in 14,834 in a stadium seating 21,859 making it 68% full. Phew! But, hold your horses, 2.6m live in the city and 5.5m in the area. Also, Toronto is not a host for WC-15.

      • Shane

        How is the attendance so bad? Its a bunch of kids under 20 playing soccer. For one Canada isn’t as educated about the u20 womens game as people in the USA are. We (Canada) as a country are still learning about the women’s game at all stages. Right now a majority of peoples focus is on the Canadian Women’s National Team and not the U-20 team. If the Canadian u-20 team wins their next 2 games or at least finds a way to get to the quarter finals then you will see attendance start to rise.

        As for Edmonton the main reason why only 10,000 people turned out is 1. Because it was a Tuesday. and 2 because the kickoff of the game was at 5:00 which is rush hour and where the stadium is located Its a busy road and there is little parking around the stadium and the train to get there is jam packed. If your from Edmonton you know what im talking about. Besides 10,000 people is a pretty good turnout considering the tournament is just getting kicked off.

        • Steglitz49

          Excuses, excuses, excuses. That is all we ever hear about why women’s soccer is poorly attended.

          Do you think that if the men’s teams of Real Madrid had played Bayern Munich or Barcelona Man Utd in Edmonton only 10,000 would have turned up? The stadium would have been full even with higher ticket prices.

          If 10,000 can turn up in Edmonton and 3,600 in Moncton, why was Canada’s opener in Toronto not sold out?

          The issue here is that for the soccer playing women to get WC-15 switched to natural grass, they have to show that this extra expenditure is justified. One pressure would be to ensure a great turnout for the U20 WC.

          The situation is the same the world over. Last night 1223 people bothered to go along to watch the final of the Swedish ladies Cup. The host city, who won the final, has 150,000 inhabitants. That puts the excellent numbers in Moncton into perspective.

          Let’s trust that the numbers grow as the U20 tournament goes along. It would be a pity if they did not.

          • Guest

            Well let me ask you, how many people do you think is reasonable enough for the good attendance? 10,000 in Edmonton isn’t that bad considering its not team Canada playing. Now if Canada makes it to the quarter final in Edmonton I am sure they will get at least 18-20,000 people in that stadium.

            However even if attendance numbers rise it won’t make a difference on weather or not the tournament is played on turf. The turf the games are being played on this year and next year are rated 2 stars by fifa which is the highest it can be rated. The players are just going to have suck it up and play on it because they won’t win the lawsuit.

          • Shane

            Well let me ask you, how many people do you think is reasonable enough for the good attendance? 10,000 in Edmonton isn’t that bad considering its not team Canada playing and a bunch of teams people know nothing about. Now if Canada makes it to the quarter final in Edmonton I am sure they will get at least 18-20,000 people in that stadium. As for the reason why Toronto didn’t sell out, I wish I knew.

            However even if attendance numbers rise it won’t make a difference on weather or not the tournament is played on turf. The turf the games are being played on this year and next year are rated 2 stars by fifa which is the highest it can be rated. The players are just going to have suck it up and play on it because they won’t win the lawsuit.

          • Steglitz49

            Edmonton. The big news item in the “Edmonton Journal” is about the Oilers and that their off-season bodes well for the future.

            I doubt that many Germans made the pilgrimage to Edmonton, but it would be interesting to learn how many tickets went to Americans (both living in the city and visiting from south).

            As for Toronto, one explanation could be that the stadium was sold out but that FIFA give the numbers who actually went through the turnstiles.

            It is harder to market the U20s than the adults and, hopefully, the numbers for the knockout stage will be high, but it seems that getting big attendances for the U20 would have given at least some ammunition to play on grass. I agree that the lawsuit most likely will be a blind alley for the ladies — though not for the lawyers. Who has seen a fat client and a thin lawyer?

  • Stephen

    Just a little snippet. A promotional video of the German u20 team exercising after their opening game of the WC. Nothing interesting to see here, maybe except for their halfhearted attempt at playing American football. But arround the 1 minute mark a burn on the leg of a player is shown, her comment on this: “Immer dieser Kunstrasen.” – “Always this artifical turf.”

    http://tv.dfb.de/video/u-20-frauen-regeneration-und-training/9213/

  • ILoveChocolate73

    Its just BS. Canada shouldn’t be able to bid if they can’t provide world-class facilities.
    The fact is lower quality turf increases possibility of injury and increases recovery time between games.

    • Neil W Humphrey

      CSA doesnt have the money and yes FIFA should have chosen a better climate as grass is too expensive to maintain in Canada unless its ina SSS. Facilities here are mostly taxpayer owned so multiple sports get played in the stadia.

      What facts as lots of FIFA AF studies saying otherwise on their site

    • Steglitz49

      Canada ende up being the only bidder. Without Canada, there might not have been women’s WC in 2015. Beggars can’t be choosers.

  • SAJ

    I never hear about the why the women are not entitled to have the best referees officiate the World Cup. That is something that should be fixed.

    • Steglitz49

      I am not sure that I follow you. Women referee women’s matches. Jenny Palmqvist was honored by FIFA a couple of years ago.

      That does not mean that FIFA and all the other FAs could not run clinics for women referees. Being a soccer ref is a labor of love. A few become well recognized like Colina and Frisk, but most pass us by, which is meet and right because in a well refereed match the ref is unintrusive.

      • SAJ

        The best referees officiated the World Cup in Brazil, all were men, however they are banned from officiating the Women’s World Cup.

  • Juan Peinado

    Turf favors unskilled bruisers like Canada. They are a disgrace as a host nation.

  • Juan Peinado

    Turf favors unskilled bruisers like Canada. They are a disgrace as a host nation.

    • northofnorthbay

      Juan, it’s actually the other way around. Grass favours the bruisers (Amy Wambach) because (she claims) there is less chance of injury on grass. The American team is notoriously rough. A skilled team will pass the ball more efficiently on turf, making the “rough” teams less effective.

      • guest

        Haha Canada is a bunch of hacks compared to the US case in point Buchanon. I wonder how many players she will injure before they get her under control. The ball moves faster on turf hence the number of passes that were heavy just look at your own youth team in the WC. Too many heavy touches that would have been ok on turf

  • northofnorthbay

    Don’t know what the turf at the WC fields is like, but the stuff at our local fields is better than grass. More give, less chance of injury (except maybe burn from sliding on the plastic. I’ve never got one, but them I’m not a girl with shaved legs). This isn’t the old turf, and the good passing teams will love it. Doesn’t hold water so much when it rains, and accepts cleats just as well as grass. That being said, apparently Moncton had grass, and apparently was forced by FIFA to tear it out and put in turf, at a cost of $1.5 million. I guess if the women win their lawsuit, FIFA can always cancel the WC. No other country wanted it anyway, which goes to show the popularity of women’s soccer worldwide…

    • Steglitz49

      “Better than” may be stretching your point though “a good alternative” is probably closer to what you had in mind.

      As I understand you, you contend that FIFA is justified in letting CSA run WC-15 on artificial grass. In practice, FIFA is grabbing the moment to test playing one senior tournament on artificial grass.

      Is there not a risk that the matches might be boring and thus WC-15 would be one more, if not the final, nail in a coffin? WC-11 exploded women’s soccer; WC-15 sank it without a trace. Is that your expectation?

      • northofnorthbay

        I don’t follow your logic that the matches might be boring. How? By good passing and less grabbing? My expectation is that games should be faster and more exciting.

        CSA bid on the WC based on some games on grass, some on turf. FIFA could have said “no, either grass or forget it”. But nobody else stepped forward to host it. So instead, FIFA chose to say “no, put all the games on the same surface.” If, as you say, for some inexplicable reason WC-15 sinks women’s soccer “without a trace”, it won’t be the playing surface that does it. But I’m betting that women’s soccer will come out of it stronger than ever. The popularity of it keeps growing and, except for the usual cast of whiners that “it’s not as good as men’s soccer”, it is still exciting to watch and gives the girls something to aspire to.

        • Steglitz49

          Indeed. That was the history of the bid, which everyone conveniently forgets.

          Let’s not judge the tournament in advance but trust that it will be even better than WC-11, hard as that is.

  • QuickAsAFlash

    The turf in Canada looks terrible (watching the U20 world cup) and I am told by a fried of people who actually play on it is terrible. FC Rosengard in Sweden plays on a brand new new turf field. Not close to a perfect grass pitch but far, far better then old turf. If Canada/FIFA would replace all the old turf with state-of-the-art turf it would be a huge step forward.

    • Steglitz49

      I thought all the artificial surfaces would be of the best quality.

  • QuickAsAFlash

    In the China Olympics men and women played on very poor grass. State of the art turf would be so much better

    • Steglitz49

      Let’s hope the discovery process uncovers the truth.

      Your points about different qualities of artificial grass are well taken.

  • schallb2157

    I went to watch a youth football game , the game before had a kid taken to the hospital in an ambulance, then the next team had the same thing happen. these are third to sixth graders