FIFA: Edmonton's stadium's turf must be replaced for Women’s World Cup

Thursday February 12th, 2015

FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association have agreed to replace the turf at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium ahead of this summer's Women's World Cup, according to the Edmonton Journal.

The move is an effort to ensure that the painted white lines used by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League don't appear on camera during the 11 games Edmonton is slated to host during the tournament.

Though the turf is just five years old, the paint from the football lines has stuck to the plastic grass blades and the surrounding rubber, according to the stadium’s acting director, Kevin Kobi.

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“The Canadian Soccer Association has assessed a number of pitches that are being played on and had come to the conclusion, along with FIFA, that a number needed to be replaced,” Kobi said. "What was noticed last year during the under-20 Women's World Cup was there was ghosting on the (Commonwealth) pitch."

Although 99 percent of the paint was able to be removed from the field, the remaining one percent remained visible due to high-definition cameras and the quality of filming, Kobi added.

The replacement will be done by the end of May at a cost of roughly $800,000 Canadian, or just over $640,000 in US dollars. The city and the national soccer association plan to split the bill.

The surface at Commonwealth Stadium has a lifespan of eight to ten years. The Eskimos have also been consulted to ensure the new turf meets their needs.

The Women's World Cup will run from June 5 to July 6 this year, and take place in six Canadian cities.

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A number of players and observers have raised concerns about the suitability of artificial turf for soccer games. Women's World Cup players have gone so far as to file a lawsuit in order to play on grass, but withdrew the suit in January.

Men's games are played on natural grass. Women players have said the difference in surfaces constitutes unfair treatment.


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