Retired United States women's national team star Mia Hamm said she hopes the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada will be played on grass, David Owen of Inside World Football reports.
A group of the world's top women's players filed a lawsuit earlier this month against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association for planning to use artificial turf during the tournament. The lawsuit claims the use of artificial turf is gender discrimination, as every men's World Cup since 1930 has been played on grass. The players say turf is more dangerous and causes injuries far worse than those that occur on grass fields.
Hamm, who scored 158 goals and added 144 assists during her international career, said the tournament should be played on grass since it is the biggest event in women's soccer.
Interviewed in Monaco, Hamm, who was part of two US World Cup-winning squads besides winning two Olympic gold medals and one silver, said she understood why the stadiums designated to be used for the competition had artificial surfaces. "But for this tournament you hope, you know, FIFA potentially could invest in and figure out a safe and better alternative."
She went on: "I totally understand why they have it in that area of the world...I get it. I just...this is an opportunity to hopefully you know FIFA steps in and does the right thing and this isn't something worth talking about."
FIFA has been adamant the tournament will be played on artificial turf. "We play on artificial turf and there's no Plan B," said Tatjana Haenni, who is FIFA's head of women's competitions. FIFA hired an independent examiner to ensure the turf is up to par ahead of the tournament.
The 2015 Women's World Cup will be played from June 6 to July 5 in Canada.
- Paul Palladino