Abby Wambach appeals against artificial turf at 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup

The top female women’s football players who have filed a lawsuit to challenge the decision to use artificial turf at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, have suggested a $3M grass proposal to resolve the situation.

Lawyers representing the top female women’s football players officially filed the lawsuit after having heard little or no response. They are fighting the decision to use artificial turf at the World Cup, as they feel they are victims of gender discrimination and also felt there is more chance of injury playing on this kind of surface.

The lawyers have come up with a proposal to settle their discrimination case… 

TSN reports on one of the proposed solutions:
One would be to install temporary grass fields, covering the artificial turf with custom trays, filling those trays with sand and laying grass on top. That would allow grass to take root and let water drain, the proposal says.

“Several companies and experts have offered to discount their time and materials to make a solution as inexpensive as possible,” the proposal says. “Businesses and individuals could step up to defray costs through charitable donations. And, of course, the Canadian Soccer Association and FIFA clearly have the financial wherewithal to fund this solution.”

Some professional football leagues, including Major League Soccer and some FIFA World Cup matches, are played on artificial turf.

Canada won the right to host the 2015 Games when the only other finalist, Zimbabwe, withdrew from consideration.

It’s unclear whether sponsors would be willing to help cover the cost. In a statement released to TSN late Wednesday, a spokesperson with Amway, a Canadian Soccer Association sponsor, said, “We do not have any input and/or opinion on this matter.”

The modular tray system was used at the 1994 Men’s World Cup and at the 1999 Women’s World Cup, the proposal says, noting that the trays with a sand base and rooted-in grass can be produced within a few months.

“In the week since players initiated legal action against the Canadian Soccer Association and FIFA, the hosts of the 2015 World Cup have lawyered up and done everything possible to slow down a court ruling on whether forcing elite female athletes to compete on game-changing, dangerous, and demeaning artificial turf fields at their sport’s preeminent tournament constitutes sex discrimination,” Hampton Dellinger, a lawyer for the players, said in a statement.

Dellinger’s proposal suggests Canadian soccer and FIFA officials consult with Graff Farms, a Colorado company that owns the distribution rights to XtraGrass, a natural grass system it says is in use throughout Europe and northern climates.
“XtraGrass could be used for high traffic portions of the field, or for the entire field. It does not alter playability, look or feel,” the proposal says, noting the grass is typically seeded in spring, so there would be enough time to grow the in-tray grass before the World Cup games next June.

The proposal also says two Canadian sod farms – Eagle Lake Turf Farm in Calgary, and Zander Farms in Ontario – could produce enough grass for all six World Cup sites.

Installing the temporary grass fields would cost between $300,000 and $500,000 per field, the proposal says. By dealing with Canadian farms, there would be no customs issues, the proposal says.

Dellinger and his colleagues said they had consulted with the sod farms, as well as professors of turf grass science at Michigan State University and the University of Tennessee.

Source: TSN

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