Several leading footballers sue over World Cup 2015 artificial turf row

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Problems continue for FIFA after several leading women footballers have filed a suit claiming sex discrimination over the decision to use artificial turf at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

The BBC reported that legal proceedings have begun against the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and football’s world governing body FIFA at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

Attorney Hampton Dellinger, who is representing nearly 50 players involved in the action from 12 countries, is quoted as saying that the objection was male football players being allowed to play on natural grass, while their female counterparts were being asked to play on artificial turfs.

Among the players involved are previous FIFA Women’s Player of the Year winners – German Nadine Angerer and American Abby Wambach.

Dellinger maintained that plastic pitches alter how the game is played, pose unique safety risks and are considered inferior for international competition.

He went on to say “As a result, the players have no choice but to initiate the legal action filed (Wednesday). Whatever happens in court, (the) CSA and FIFA have lost any claim to being good stewards of the women’s game – until they correct their mistake.”

Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s Deputy Director of the Competitions Division and Head of Women’s Competitions, was in Ottawa this week to discuss the tournament and told reporters soccer’s governing body has no Plan B if the tournament can’t be staged on artificial turf.

“No, there’s no plan to change the decision,” she said when asked if FIFA was considering putting down grass on the stadiums with turf.

“(Turf) is the way it’s going to be. It’s according to competition regulations, it’s according to the laws of the game, so all matches will be on artificial turf, yes.”