Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium needs new turf prior to the Women’s World Cup in June, a cost of almost $650,00 USD that will be split in half between the City of Edmonton and the Canadian Soccer Association.
Edmonton will host 11 World Cup games, including a semifinal and the third-place match.
Traces of football lines can be seen on the current turf even after they are stripped off for soccer competition. They were visible last summer during the U-20 Women’s World Cup matches played at the stadium. All artificial turf pitches must be FIFA 2-Star Certified in order to be used for the World Cup, and 2-Star Certification cannot be reached with any visible non-soccer lines.
“The Canadian Soccer Association has assessed a number of pitches that are being played on and had come to the conclusion, along with FIFA, that a number needed to be replaced,” Commonwealth Stadium acting director Kevin Kobi told the Edmonton Journal.
“What was noticed last year during the under-20 Women’s World Cup was there was ghosting on the (Commonwealth) pitch.”
Replacement of the turf will start in April and finish by the end of May, Kobe said. The CSA is also replacing one of the practice fields that will be used in Edmonton.
The current turf field at Commonwealth Stadium five years old. The field is home to the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, which runs from late June through late November.
Turf at the 2015 Women’s World Cup has been a divisive topic in the build-up to the tournament. A group of players fought against the use of artificial turf at the competition, filing legal action in October in the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on grounds that it is gender discrimination. Every men’s World Cup has been played on natural grass.
Last month the players formally dropped their legal complaint after little movement on the matter and not enough time to enact change. The World Cup begins on June 6.
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