NEW YORK: FIFA has been challenged over health and safety of players by Carli Lloyd, the United States women’s Olympic star writes CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE.

Lloyd, who scored the two decisive goals against Japan in the London 2012 final at Wembley, is concerned at how many of the matches in the 2015 Women’s World Cup finals will be played on artificial turf pitches.

Out of the six host venues in Canada, five will play matches on plastic pitches including the final at BC Place in Vancouver.

Lloyd, twice an Olympic gold medallist, said in a BBC World Service interview: “As a soccer player we would all rather play on grass fields. My biggest concern is the injuries. It  takes several weeks to recover from playing on [artificial] turf. It’s bad on your joints, not to mention all those rubber pellets.

“Those pellets are there to help you slide, sometimes in the grass there’s no rubber pellets and your foot can get stuck and that’s when injuries can happen. I just don’t want soccer getting to that point where everybody’s playing on artificial turf”.

Team  support

The midfielder from Western New York Flash has been supported by team-mate and compatriot Abby Wambach.

The current FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year tweeted: “I usually don’t retweet articles about myself but I think it is too important to stay silent on. The men should worry too, they could be next.”

Lloyd said she hoped the situation could be corrected before the tournament.

“I hope that we, as players, can do something – as well as other countries and federations and just let FIFA know that we’re not really too happy about this decision.”

A FIFA spokesman said: “The FIFA executive committee confirmed at its meeting last March that the turf standard in the stadium and the training sites, obviously have to meet FIFA requirements and should be of the same quality.
FIFA has currently scheduled two inspection visits to Canada, one in April and one in August where those fields will be inspected.”

More ambitions

In the meantime, Lloyd is also hoping to emulate her teammate Wambach in becoming FIFA World player of the year, as well as bring the World Cup back to her country.

She said: “I’ve still got a lot more in me. Obviously I want to bring home the 2015 World Cup. That’s kind of a major thing, I will do anything to become a World Cup champion. But my ultimate goal is to become the FIFA World Player of the Year.

“I was fortunate enough to make the shortlist this year, but that’s a goal of mine and I’m going to do everything to keep working hard towards that goal”.

Lloyd will have to wait as she is currently out injured with a broken shoulder, suffered during the recent Algarve Cup.


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