A group of more than 40 women's soccer players are set to file a lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association over the use of artificial turf at the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada, according to a report from ESPN.
FIFA and CSA missed a deadline on Friday to consider not staging the tournament on turf fields. The suit alleges gender discrimination, a violation of Canadian Law, for forcing players to play on turf instead of natural grass. Every men's World Cup since 1930 has been staged on grass.
The players reportedly sent a letter to CSA officials and FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Wednesday with notice of their plans to take legal action. If the suit goes to trial, it would likely take place in November, attorney Hampton Dellinger told ESPN.
"The discriminatory plan hatched by FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to stage the 2015 women's World Cup on artificial turf, coupled with their refusal to discuss ways to fix the mistake, have left the players with no choice," the Washington, D.C.-based Dellinger, who is working in conjunction with two Canadian law firms, said in a statement to ESPN. "It's now time to ask the courts to stop FIFA and Canada from forcing elite athletes to compete under game-changing, dangerous and demeaning conditions."
The suit, which is set to be filed at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, includes pictures of what it calls "Artificial Turf Abrasions." One depicting US women's national team forward Sydney Leroux was tweeted by Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
The group of players includes US stars Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan as well as five-time world player of the year Marta.