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Women footballers want turf battles

Group of players led by American star Abby Wambach feel they consider the use of artificial pitches gender discrimination

Montreal: Elite female footballers and the Canadian Soccer Association looked set for mediation in an attempt to resolve their dispute over the use of artificial pitches at next summer's Women's World Cup.

Footballers Marta, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach (right) during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. Pic/Getty Images
Footballers Marta, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach (right) during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. Pic/Getty Images

The two sides have seven days to accept the order, an adjudicator at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario said Friday, and football's world governing body FIFA which backs the use of plastic pitches, can also take part.

A group of players led by American star Abby Wambach complained to the court last month, saying that they considered the use of artificial pitches gender discrimination.

Danger factor too
The men's World Cup is played on natural grass and the women players are requesting the same. The players also allege that playing on artificial turf is dangerous.

The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) denies discrimination. The Women's World Cup takes place from June 6 to July 5, 2015, leaving limited time for the two sides to find a resolution. With that in mind, the players had requested an expedited application to the tribunal.

Women footballers Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands and Nora Holstad Berge (right) of Norway during the FIFA World cup qualifier in Oslo, Norway on September 17, 2014. Pic for representation only
Women footballers Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands and Nora Holstad Berge (right) of Norway during the FIFA World cup qualifier in Oslo, Norway on September 17, 2014. Pic for representation only 

The CSA believes the players have left it too late to make their complaint, pointing out that FIFA accepted its bid to host the tournament in March 2011 and the host cities were announced in May the following year.

The women's World Cup will be staged in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.

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