VANCOUVER: A women’s World Cup will not be played on artificial turf again, according to the secretary general of players’ union FIFPro writes CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE.
Theo van Seggelen made his pledge at a press conference in Vancouver barely 48 hours before the final of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup at BC Place – on artificial grass.
An unsuccessful lawsuit was launched late last year in conjunction with a number of international players in protest at the decision to play all of the games at the tournament on plastic 3G pitches.
USA striker Abby Wambach said at the time that it was sexual discrimination, adding “the men would never play on artificial pitches”.
Van Seggelen conceded that FIFpro had been too late to have any impact on the campaign. But that in the future, it would make sure to get in right from the beginning.
“As long as FIFPro is around, men will not play a World Cup on turf and the same will be for women from here on,” he said.
“It was not clear that we could win the court case and as in football, you don’t want to lose. We were much too late to be involved in our opposition”.
A number of complaints have been made about the turf since the beginning of the tournament on June 6. Not just from the quality of it, but also about the way it has been watered. Organisers initially seem confused about how to make sure it was sufficiently hydrated, with players complaining that the pitch was too dry and therefore slowed the ball down.
One stadium even resorted to using a single fire truck driving round the pitch spraying the grass with its hose in an attempt to water it sufficiently.
Spanish national player Veronica Boquete, also at the press conference along with other international stars, said on playing on the plastic grass: “It’s obvious that the game changed. Totally”.
For now, FIFPro is attempting to make up for its slow reaction to the issue by increasing its representation of women players around the world.
A new initiative and advisory board made up of international players will seek to reach out to players around the world and help them become direct members of FIFPro, especially in countries with no other players’ union.
Boquete is joined on the new advisory board by Nigeria’s Rita Chikwelu, Mexico’s Monica Gonzalez, Sweden’s Lotta Schelin, Netherland’s Kristen van de Ven and Australia’s Lydia Williams.
The head of FIFpro’s women’s football committee and former player Caroline Jonsson added her thoughts on the importance of helping to fight for issues in the women’s game.
“The diversity of women’s soccer is huge,” she said. “We have to find a way to reach out to all players”.