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Joe MacCarthy

Players Retain Legal Counsel in Fight Against Artificial Turf at 2015 Women’s World Cup

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Love it or hate it, it's really not about grass or turf at all.  It's about law.  The hosting specification that was publicly available four years ago allows for either surface.  The players are litigating FIFA over that now, after Canada has spent three years coordinating with thousands of organizations, companies, volunteers, etc.  If FIFA is litigated and loses, from your understanding of the organization, do they stonewall and cancel the tournament to send a message you don't sue them?

From a friend I have in Sweden, turf fields are uncommon in Europe.  So to expect some countries to start a law suit 4 years ago may be unreasonable.  I remember Germany coming here to play a friendly in turf to see what was all about.  Turf may be convenient for training year round but a World Cup tournament deserves grass.

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After watching the Canada-N.Korea match in Montreal, I thought the bounce on the turf was awful and certainly would be unacceptable for mens World  Cup matches.  It should also be unacceptable for a Womens World Cup. I hope the surfaces used during next year's WWC will be of better quality.

 

It was a big failure of FIFA to allow this standard of turf for the highest level of international women's soccer.  That said, the concern voiced by the players behind this legal action comes far too late.  They just have to get out there and play.  They should instead pursue grass for all subsequent WWCs.

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From a friend I have in Sweden, turf fields are uncommon in Europe.    I remember Germany coming here to play a friendly in turf to see what was all about.

 

Why wouldn't they just play on the turf fields in Germany?  In 2011 there were games in the top men's leagues played on turf in France, Norway, Belgium, Russia, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Ireland,Switzerland, etc.  International games were played on turf in Europe the same year in Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Ireland.

 

It was a big failure of FIFA to allow this standard of turf for the highest level of international women's soccer.

 

If you went to Frank Clair you saw Aguero play on it at the U20.  It's the standard for the full men's too.  

 

The difference is  $15 billion dollars, which is what Brazil spent on hosting the men's World Cup.  One country bid for the women's tournament, one country without the facilities to host on grass and with no government infrastructure money for the tournament.

 

Don't like FIFA's specifications, great.  Send them an email telling them you want change in 2019.  Stop killing the messenger.

Edited by Vic

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Love it or hate it, it's really not about grass or turf at all.  It's about law.  The hosting specification that was publicly available four years ago allows for either surface.  The players are litigating FIFA over that now, after Canada has spent three years coordinating with thousands of organizations, companies, volunteers, etc.  If FIFA is litigated and loses, from your understanding of the organization, do they stonewall and cancel the tournament to send a message you don't sue them?

" after Canada has spent three years coordinating with thousands of organizations, companies, volunteers, etc." surely you jest....FIFA has done no such thing hence the Voyageurs in Montreal not knowing where they could sit or if they could bring flags etc. to the Tuesday game, FIFA dictates, they do not coordinate.

 

Your right Vic is it about law...so let the courts take care of the matter, the litigation will go through the judges will weigh the issues and arguments, heck it might even be referred to the Federal Court of Canada if it is a case touching the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms which includes

Section 15: equal treatment before and under the law, and equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination.   Which is a pretty clear statement.   The presented argument will certainly touch on Differential treatment,   "

This step asks whether there is a formal distinction between the claimant and a comparator group based on one or more personal characteristics or else does it fail to take into account the claimant's current disadvantaged position?"

 

So do women play under the same Laws of the game as men ...answer Yes.

So does FIFA organize a World Cup for men with the same hosting specification for fields....answer No. 

 

Are women soccer players treated differently then male players in the World Cups ...answer Yes.

 

Is this therefore equal treatment ...answer No.

 

FIFA will need to try to make a defence that says at the time of the field specifications, they were changing the field specs for all future hosting of World Cups, they then have to prove they have done that...to my knowledge that is not true.

 

Vic the lawyers see this as a slam dunk, they may be right.

 

Let the courts decide, even if the determination is not "in time" it will set a precedent and there can be a financial penalty awarded by the court, FIFA and its Canadain Corporation it has set up for the WWC, should get itself prepared for mediation or face a case in a court that will not be influenced by Swiss Francs.

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So does FIFA organize a World Cup for men with the same hosting specification for fields....answer No.

 

Link from lil_one in BigSoccer:

http://goo.gl/x1RfJu

 

Page 27: "The stadium authority agrees and acknowledges that all Matches of both Competitions [2022 WC and 2021 Confed Cup] must be staged on a grass playing surface. Matches may only be played on artificial turfs if specifically permitted in writing by FIFA."

 

So there is a rider, for cases where for example, only one country bids to host the tournament and do not have the facilities.

Edited by Vic

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It would have been illegal to host 2015 World Cup games in Toronto because of the restrictions placed by the Pan-Am games.

 

Uh ... illegal?  Could you point to the provincial or federal legislation this would break?  #fail

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Easy enough if you live in southern BC in a wet European climate where grass can be grown with little effort.  Impossible in the majority of Canada.  We are allowed on grass fields mid-to-late May and play three months, four if we're lucky.  The only option is turf.

 

They play at BMO on grass from mid-to-late March through the end of November.  Now, it was a bit poor for the first match or two this season - and turf might have actually been better for the first match.  But it was the coldest winter in memory.   In Montreal they play on grass for almost as long.

 

I don't think "impossible" is the right word.  Probably cheaper than those air-cooled stadiums in Dubai ... :)

 

 

Crazy. It's too late to change it now. If you don't like turf, don't play!

 

It's not too late.  If our courts play along, you know where this goes right?  The USA can always host at the last minute.  And the US Players launching the law suit know this.

 

Edited by nfitz

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I'm watching the U20 final right now and there have been a number of odd bounces on that carpet at the Big O. Real bush league stuff.

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Casey Stoney with a more realistic, not rivalry influenced and used to play on artificial, top player's opinion

 

"From my point of view, it is not ideal, you want to play on grass where possible. But I've spoken to some of the England squad, who played on the same pitches at the Under-20 World Cup in Canada recently, and they told me it did not cause them any problems.

 

They said the pitches were good and the ball moved quite quickly, which can sometimes be an issue with artificial turf. The reality nowadays is that we train on pitches of this kind day in, day out and we are used to matches too as Everton and Liverpool both play their Women's Super League games on an artificial pitch at Widnes.

 

I also doubt that Fifa is going to change its mind now, so we will just have to prepare in the right way by training on that surface beforehand. From what I've seen, the stadiums in Canada are fantastic and I'm sure it will be a great spectacle for women's football.

 

If I'm totally honest, though, my biggest concern right now is to make sure I am there."

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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Ah, poor Casey Stoney. This is why England isn't a great power in women's soccer: because she gave a reasonable, well-thought through answer to the question showing that she's done her homework and thought about the matter seriously. What she should have done is whined and whined and whined and bitched and threatened and made it all about her in the hope of scraping out some slight advantage at the cost of all human decency and dignity.

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What she should have done is whined and whined and whined and bitched and threatened and made it all about her in the hope of scraping out some slight advantage at the cost of all human decency and dignity.

So...men's soccer?

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Guest ClaytonA

Got a laugh out of this;

 

http://www.bigsoccer.com/blog/2014/8/15/turf-war

 

 

Noted civil rights warrior Abby Wambach is of course the absolute perfect person to place herself at the forefront of this issue. When the late Dan Borislow was accused of sexist behavior towards Wambach's teammates, Wambach immediately and forcefully responded - in defense of Borislow. When her home state's reactionaries worked to prevent her from marrying the partner of her choice, Wambach's silence was a role model for Trappist monks everywhere.

But when it comes to playing on artificial turf, that's where Abby Wambach will do whatever it takes.

Sorry - I mean, when it comes to playing on artificial turf for the national team. It's okay when it's her club. But she will do whatever it takes to avoid playing on turf in a tournament.

Well, short of actually not playing in the the tournament.

 

Yet the group of players, led by Wambach, isn’t taking no for an answer.

The players aren’t threatening to boycott the World Cup if the issue isn’t remedied, said Hampton Dellinger, one of their lawyers. But he stressed that they would keep pushing the issue if FIFA and organizers continue to ignore them.

 

In other words, they are taking "no" for an answer.

 

About the only way this campaign could possibly reek of hypocrisy any worse is if it would be to draft as a spokesman one of the most famous rapists and snitches in the history of

[image]

 

Kobe Bryant, feminist. Jesus wept.

 

It was the helpful addition of the sponsor's handle that convinced me of his sincerity. Maybe Sydney wouldn't have skinned her legs so bad if it was anything like actual body armor?

 

Wambach is certainly not a role model for anyone's children.  I'll never forget her hectoring the ref in the 2012 Olympics...

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Meh.

 

On the face of it I have to more or less agree with the ladies involved in the lawsuit.  At least on the semantics.  WC Finals, on plastic?  Really?  And we're aren't talking one or two venues here.  It's THE LOT.  However....

 

If the ladies are holding up the men's finals by comparison, like it or not to my mind they're just making the argument for their opposition.  No the women's WCF is not the men's WCF.  That is evident on every single level.  Same as the youth tourneys are not the men's WCF and shouldn't have the same expectations.  Age discrimination be damned. 

 

But point taken.  The optics really aren't the best are they?  (And not just for FIFA, Canada as well.  As usual when it comes to soccer, doing things on the cheap.  Can you imagine the US hosting an artificul turf tourney?  Neither can I).

 

Great article by the way, referencing Wambach's moral interests and activism in a tournement in which she has no investment in as a player.  So much leadership.  So much bravery.     

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FORCE FIFA, CSA, & SPONSORS TO PUT WOMEN'S WORLD CUP ON GRASS #NoGrassNoCash

This is perhaps the most clear cut case of blatant Gender Discrimination in years. The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) wouldn't even allow a CONCACAF qualifying game for the Canadian Men's National Team (ranked 120th) be played on Turf! Yet the CSA and FIFA think it's a-ok for the Women's World Cup (the crowning event in the sport that happens only once every 4 years) to be played on Turf!

You know that this would not even be considered for a second for the Men's World Cup to be play on Turf! Indeed, the CSA's bid to host the 2026 Men's World Cup only has plans for it to be played on Grass!

For those of you who don't agree, get your heads out of your sexist sand, and give them a good shake! We are not some 3rd world country that needs a special dispensation to play a one-off qualifying game on turf. This is Canada. This is the World Cup! This would be the 1st ever World Cup since 1930 (Men's or Women's) to ever be played on Plastic Turf! Women's Soccer has grown leaps & bounds over the past 20 years. Why would you want your/our country (Canada) to be responsible for setting the beautiful game back years with this sexist action of forcing these awesome players (the best in the world) to play on Plastic Turf. After the London Olympics (2012) Canada fell in love with the Canadian Women's National Team. As these Canadian players are pretty much being silenced by Orwellian tactics, it is up to us fans to stand up and speak out for them!

As the CSA & FIFA are again showing themselves unable to take their heads out of the sand, it is up to REAL FOOTBALL FANS to put pressure where it matters most to FIFA and the CSA - $. We must save the CSA and FIFA from themselves, as their plastic turf actions are ruining the beautiful game they are supposed to be responsible for protecting and nurturing. We must put pressure on their potential Sponsors of this event (#WWC2015): like Coke, Bell, BMO, Labatt, Budweiser, Canadian Tire, Adidas, Nike, Puma etc... Do these sponsors really want to be associated with a Sexist World Cup? No matter how much lipstick FIFA & the CSA try to put on this Plastic Turf Sexist World Cup it will always be a PIG. A sexist pig. Indeed this a chance for existing and potential 2015 Women's World Cup Sponsors (like Coke, Bell, BMO, Labatt, Budweiser, Canadian Tire, Adidas, Nike, Puma etc...whoever) to stop sexism in its tracks! Sponsors can put pressure on FIFA & the CSA by simply saying: "NO GRASS, NO CASH"! (#NoGrassNoCash)

There is still plenty of time to affordably install temporary grass at all 6 venues for the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada, and reap the positive image and additional revenues that will come from it! Do the right thing real soccer fans, sponsors, FIFA, and the CSA. by @FootySidney

Here's the Open & Shut Gender Discrimination Case:

http://assets.espn.go.com/pdf/2014/0926/csafifa_final-notice.pdf

Here's the Precedent for Putting Grass Over Turf (Done 20 years ago!):

http://assets.espn.go.com/pdf/2014/0926/csafifa_final-notice.pdf

Here's Proof of the CSA's Blatant Sexism:

http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/index.php?/page/articles.html/_/aftn-2/canadian-mens-national-team-games-unlikely-for-vancouver-r2252

Follow Me on Twitter via @FootySidney

Edited by sidney

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^ I like how you called the CSA & FIFA "A sexist pig".  Also like your catchy phrase "NO GRASS, NO CASH".  At the end I think the World Cup will be played in the U.S. as the CSA does not have a green thumb for grass, besides it will most likely make more money in the U.S. for FIFA.

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There is still plenty of time to affordably install temporary grass at all 6 venues for the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada, and reap the positive image and additional revenues that will come from it! Do the right thing real soccer fans, sponsors, FIFA, and the CSA. by @FootySidney

And have Wambitch screw Canada again?  I'd rather forfeit the tournament back to FIFA.  The lawsuit is ******** and the only thing we have to find out is whether the CSA or FIFA have the "balls" enough not to cave to blackmail.

 

I'd love to see the makers of the infill surfaces offer a countersuit.  The dissenters have posted flyers saying the surface is unsafe and that has never been proven or disproven.

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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I've been reluctant to comment on this topic because I really don't want to get into a war of words with people, especially as this is a topic that stirs up emotions on both sides of the debate. So I'm simply going to make a comment that is not connected to a particular position either for or against the use of artificial turf for this tournament.

I'm not sure that the legal case is as much of a slam dunk as the lawyers/players on the 'no turf' side think it is. I'm not sure what the disadvantage is for the women vs the men. I've heard tons of people say that there is an increased incidence of injuries on artificial turf but every study I've read disputes this. After that, what is the disadvantage? That players prefer to play on grass? If that's the case, I'm not sure that's a strong enough reason to prove discrimination.

If anyone has either a) a study that shows that artificial surfaces pose a significantly greater injury risk (like I said, all I've seen is the opposite) or B) another way in which a tournament held on artificial surfaces disadvantages the participants feel free to clue me in.

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or another way in which a tournament held on artificial surfaces disadvantages the participants feel free to clue me in.

Apparently Canada also discriminates against teenage males (re 2007 FIFA U-20)

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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Apparently Canada also discrimnates against teenage males (re 2007 FIFA U-20)

Honestly that's another part of the legal 'slam-dunk' statement that I'm not convinced about. Senior men have not played on artificial turf but other levels have. So in other words the argument that Men have not had to play on artificial surfaces in World Cup tournaments is actually false.

To make the argument that this does not apply and only the senior tournaments count simply raises the spectre of another kind of discrimination, age discrimination.

Anyway, I am not a lawyer, so when it comes right down to it I don't have a lot of insight into how laws will apply in this circumstance. It just seems that there is little benefit to playing on grass vs artificial beyond 'We would like it this way' and that I have my doubts as to whether that makes a compelling legal argument.

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