Women accuse FIFA of discrimination over turf in Canada

Ottawa – Dozens of the world’s top female soccer players are
suing governing body FIFA for discrimination over plans to
stage matches at next year’s Women’s World Cup in Canada
on artificial turf.
A lawsuit lodged by the players against FIFA and the
Canadian Soccer Association at the Ontario Human Rights
tribunal argues that matches at the men’s World Cup are
always played on grass.
The suit accuses FIFA and the CSA of “engaging in
discrimination against female players,” saying that next
year’s tournament will “take place on literally unequal
playing fields,” as compared to the men’s.
“Instead of the natural grass surfaces on which all prior
men’s and women’s World Cups have been played… CSA and
FIFA have directed that the upcoming women’s tournament
be played on artificial turf,” said the filing.
The players say that requiring them to play on a “second-
class surface” would “fundamentally alter” their style of play,
would subject them to injuries, and devalues their “dignity,
state of mind and self respect.”
They concluded in their submission that this differential
treatment is against Canada’s human rights laws.
The plaintiffs include reigning FIFA Player of the Year Nadine
Angerer of Germany, 2012 Ballon d’Or winner Abby
Wambach of the United States, as well as players from
Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and
Spain.
They asked the rights tribunal to order FIFA and the CSA to
install grass over artificial turf at stadiums in several
Canadian cities that will host the tournament, or move the
games to stadiums with grass pitches.
A CSA spokeswoman, Michele Dion, told AFP the
organization would review the complaint before
commenting publicly.

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