Despite last-ditch effort, Wambach concedes WWC likely to be on turf
U.S. women's national team forward Abby Wambach and other players made a last-ditch proposal to FIFA to use grass fields in just the semifinal and final rounds of the 2015 Women's World Cup, but the offer appears to be rejected, according to SI's Grant Wahl.
Wambach and Germany midfielder Nadine Kessler, who are both finalists for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award being announced Monday, met with FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke before the ceremony and spoke "openly, candidly" with Valcke about the issue, according to the Associated Press.
Wambach, Kessler and Brazil star Marta, the third finalist for the award, have all supported an anti-discrimination lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association for planning to hold the upcoming World Cup on turf, rather than grass.
FIFA and the CSA have remained steadfast in their decision and have continually defended the use of turf, denying claims of gender discrimination.
"I think FIFA has made their decision and they are sticking to it," Wambach said on Monday. "The powers that be, the logistics, the timing — it just may not happen."
Wambach, 34, said if there was better dialogue between the sides two years ago, when the decision was first being made, "maybe we could have put together a coalition sooner to fight this."
FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot said Valcke promised Monday that players will be more included in future discussions. Women's players have argued that turf is a more dangerous playing surface, an idea that tournament organizers have contested.
"I know I'm going to be a heck of a lot more sore after the tournament, that's for sure," said Wambach. "It is sad because it will be my last World Cup and I really, really would love it to be on grass."
The Women's World Cup is scheduled to begin June 6. The U.S. qualified for the tournament by defeating Mexico in the semifinals of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in October.
- Molly Geary