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2015 Women's World Cup

The View from the North: Turf will stay for 2015

The 2015 World Cup will be on turf, period. No Toronto, and no grass. (Photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

A member of the 2015 World Cup organizing committee says that there is no plans to install grass playing surfaces at the playing venues for Canada 2015.

For the first time in history, a FIFA senior World Cup will be played entirely on artificial surface. That decision has been widely criticized by many if the top women’s players in the World, including all-time leading goal scorer Abby Wambach.

Despite high profile opposition, the organizing committee is content with playing on turf.

“We’re very comfortable with the decision that was made to play all (games) on artificial turf,” chief marketing and communications officer Sandra Gage said during a sponsored teleconfrence.

“The reason (we are comfortable with the decision) being that it’s part of the principle of fair play.”

Gage said that playing all games and having all training sessions on the same surface was a requirement of FIFA’s to host the event. Thus the decision was made to actually remove one grass pitch, in Moncton, New Brunswick, to install an artificial surface.

Gage was asked to speak to the possibility of the women being forced to play on turf being an issue of gender discrimination. Several high profile men’s games have been held away from turf facilities, or have been played on temporary grass in those facilities.

Additionally, the Canadian men’s teams refused to play on artificial surfaces during their failed 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Despite being given the opportunity to speak to those concerns, Gage ignored the question in her response. Instead, she stressed that the choice to play on turf should not have come as a surprise to anyone paying close attention.

“We are in the position where we brought (artificial surfaces) forward to FIFA,” Gage said. “It was our recommendation and FIFA approved of it.”

Gage stressed that everything was contained in the original hosting bid by the CSA. Canada was unopposed by the time the hosting vote occurs. She said that FIFA was “comfortable with (the decision) as well.”

“Going forward we do not see changing (the decision),” she added

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