Wambach talks to FIFA about Women’s World Cup’s “TurfGate”; says players shouldn’t protest


FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke met with USWNT superstar Abby Wambach regarding the latter’s request to move the 2015 World Cup in Canada from artificial turf to real grass.

He said, “Thanks but no thanks.”

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Wambach met with Valcke in Zurich, where she is a finalist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

“TurfGate” has attracted much debate in women’s soccer circles, as proponents for change note that men’s World Cup games are all played on real grass while this summer’s tournament in Canada will be on the fake stuff. And Wambach has been especially vocal, leading a lawsuit against FIFA that has led to some dicey actions toward female players.

From the Associated Press:

United States forward Abby Wambach says they talked “openly, candidly” ahead of Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, but “FIFA has made their decision and they are sticking to it.”

Wambach says “it’s tough because as a female athlete we want to be treated equal and we want to be playing on grass.”

Wambach also said teams shouldn’t protest at the tournament because it would take away from their competitive aims. Clearly we’re at a point where defeat is not going to be admitted, but is a certainty.

FIFA hasn’t been a banner-holder for equal rights, but do the women have a case against Canada Soccer? Given the money it costs to host a tournament, should Canada and/or FIFA be expected to redo their pitches? And why did this issue come up so late in the goings, as the tournament was awarded in 2011?

Then, there’s this, as FIFA is clearly standing by it’s longheld claims that’s nothing will change when it comes to turf.

Turf has been a problem in the men’s professional game in America, with MLS coaches like Ryan Nelsen and players like Thierry Henry complaining about the pitch in Seattle, but this is the Women’s World Cup. All sides have made mistakes en route to this destination, but FIFA clearly never had any interest in making any stops.