The 2015 Women’s World Cup begins June 6. It will be held in six Canadian cities. The games will be played on artificial turf instead of natural grass. (It’s less expensive to maintain, for one thing.) But many players believe artificial turf “leads to more injuries and slows down the tempo of the game.” Plus, no men’s World Cup has ever been played on artificial turf. As U.S. Women’s National Team player Heather O’Reilly told NPR the plan to use fake grass “is a blatant demonstration of FIFA not placing the women side by side with the men. You know, many men’s players refuse to play on artificial turf, actually, and the thought of it being played in the World Cup is almost laughable.”
Many high-profile women’s soccer players including Americans Heather O’Reilly and Abby Wambach, Homare Sawa of Japan, and Marta of Brazil filed a complaint and planned to sue FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association, “believing they were being discriminated against based on their gender,” but they dropped the suit.