BC Place in Vancouver, the site of the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, will reportedly get new artificial turf in May, according to the Province in Vancouver.
The World Cup final will be played there on July 5. The venue will host nine total games for the 2015 World Cup, which kicks off on June 6.
The impetus for the change, according to the Province’s Warc Weber, is as much about rugby as it is soccer. Rugby Canada hopes that Vancouver can host an HSBC Sevens World Series event starting in 2016. Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps are the stadiums primary tenants. The new turf will be multi-purposed.
On Friday in Philadelphia, FIFA director of women’s competitions Tatjana Haenni said that FIFA would be inspecting every World Cup playing and training surface and that all of them would be FIFA 2-star certified. She noted that replacing a turf could take three or four weeks. The Sun reports that the turf in Vancouver will be changed in mid-to-late May.
The BC Place turf was the most controversial of the bunch in a long battle regarding the use of artificial turf at a men’s or women’s senior World Cup for the first time ever. A group of players led by Abby Wambach took legal action against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association, stating that the “inferior surface” constitutes gender discrimination.
Last week Wambach presented FIFA with a last-ditch effort to compromise and host just the semifinals, third-place match and final on natural grass. FIFA rejected the proposal.
“The end of that discussion is that I think we can take it off. The topic can be over now,” Haenni said on Friday. “We’ve had so many talks about it. The 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada will be played on turf.”
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