FIFA has dismissed as 'nonsense' claims of discrimination over the decision to use artificial grass in the venues for next year's Women's World Cup, according to a report from Reuters.
A group of players have filed a lawsuit against soccer's governing body as well as the Canadian Soccer Association over the decision to use artificial turf. The latest comments from FIFA officials come ahead of the Dec. 6 draw for the tournament.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke, who answered questions at a pre-draw press conference in Ottawa, said that allegations of discrimination had no basis.
"If anyone is saying the use of artificial pitch is a question of discrimination it is nonsense. It is completely crazy to say that. It has nothing to do with discrimination," declared Valcke. "I can't imagine no one will recognize what FIFA has done for the development of women's football over the last 15 years."
"I'm amazed by the size and the scale of the dicussion...It is part of our statutes and regulations that artificial pitch can be used as natural grass to make sure we can play football everywhere."
The discrimination lawsuit was filed as FIFA continues to review a investigation into improprieties in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar, respectively. The organization's head, Sepp Blatter, did not attend the draw, and left Valcke to address the latest controversy.
The 2015 Women's World Cup is set to begin on June 5 next year, and last until July 6. The matches will be held at six venues throughout Canada, all on artificial grass.