Speed Reads

War on Women's Soccer

Soccer players to FIFA: Artificial World Cup turf is 'discriminatory' against women

A coalition of 40 soccer stars from around the world last week inched toward a legal fight with FIFA in their bid to ensure the 2015 Women's World Cup is played on grass, not turf. The group retained legal counsel and sent FIFA a pointed letter arguing that the unprecedented proposal to play the women's tournament on turf "is discriminatory and violates Canadian law," according to a copy obtained by The Equalizer.

No men's or women's World Cup has ever been played on turf. Citing concerns that such playing surfaces are inherently inferior and potentially dangerous, the group accused FIFA of "singling out women for differential and unequal treatment," which it argues is prohibited under Canadian law.

"Relegating women to a second-class surface, while simultaneously ensuring that men will play on premier grass fields for years to come, degrades the women's game and all involved with it," the letter states.

The group says it is prepared to pursue legal action if FIFA does not "engage in meaningful discussion" to rectify the issue.