PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon congressman is throwing his support behind players who are protesting the plan to use artificial turf at the Women’s World Cup next summer in Canada.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer has written his colleagues to join the effort. He will gather their signatures for a letter he plans to send early next week to Jeffrey Webb, president of the North, Central America and Caribbean soccer federation and vice president of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body.
A group of athletes, including U.S. national team players Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux, have called on FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to scrap plans to play the World Cup on artificial surfaces.
The athletes say the decision to play the tournament on fake grass amounts to gender discrimination, because the men would never be forced to play the sport’s premier tournament on turf.
FIFA and Canada Soccer acknowledged receipt of the letter, but FIFA has not yet responded to the claims.
“It’s very disappointing that FIFA hasn’t really even acknowledged or given us any response to our statement,” Morgan said on Wednesday. “It seems like CSA and FIFA are kind of playing the blaming game. So we would like some sort of response and some sort of explanation, because I feel like it is taking a step backwards so hopefully we get the explanation sooner rather than later.”
Additional reporting from Jeff Kassouf in Rochester, N.Y.
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