A group of around 40 national team players from around the world who are fighting against the use of artificial turf at the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada have retained legal counsel, reports The Equalizer.
No senior men's or women's World Cup has ever been played on artificial turf, but all six venues that will host next year's World Cup are set to use the playing surface instead of natural grass.
According to the report, the group's lawyers sent a letter to FIFA and Canada Soccer arguing that the surface is "second-class" and gender discriminatory, and that it violates provisions of Canadian law such as human rights codes.
U.S. forward Abby Wambach has been a leader of the movement, saying a World Cup played on artificial turf would be a "step back" for women's soccer. USA's Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Whitney Engen and Ali Kreiger have also signed the petition calling for the Cup to be played on natural grass.
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USA's Megan Rapinoe recently said playing the World Cup on artificial turf is "absolutely absurd" and "a slap in the face to women's football by FIFA."
On Monday, FIFA president Sepp Blatter spoke about turf use while at a press conference for the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup:
“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.”
- Molly Geary