Fifa Battles Against Turf vs Grass
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A large portion of soccer’s top female players were outraged that they had to play on artificial grass in the Women’s World Cup in Canada. Players such as Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux have been speaking out about FIFA’s decision. Sports fans have been rapidly supporting the professional athletes, as well as Tom Hanks, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. Prior to the World Cup the female soccer players formally sent FIFA and the Canadian soccer association a letter of protest. More than 65 national team players from at least 14 different countries signed the petition to FIFA calling for natural grass in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Players suggest that playing on synthetic grass changes the game of soccer, and how it is played. Not only that, but they are arguing that it is a safety hazard, and also discrimination against women. Numerous players have argued that FIFA would never allow synthetic fields at the men’s World Cup. Recently, right midfielder Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL during a training on turf for the victory tour. It was said that there were metal studs sticking out of the field, and there were spots on the field that were completely torn. Players and coaches were outraged by the condition of that training field and blame it for Rapinoe’s injury. Whether or not the field contributed to Rapinoe’s injury the best women’s soccer team in the world deserves to play on safe fields.
My opinion on this matter is that like men, women should be given the opportunity to play on grass, especially at World Cups. These female soccer players are among the best in the world, and deserve to play competitive games on real grass. In 2012, the Women’s Gold Medal soccer match during the London Olympics was NBC’s most viewed event in the networks history. The U.S Women’s National Team also won the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Yet, professional women soccer players continue to struggle to get the respect they deserve. It is a shame that professional athletes such as these have to fight for the safety and comfort of their team. I believe that playing on artificial grass can serve as a safety hazard. The American Academy of Neurology recently reported that concussions occur more often to athletes playing on artificial turf, and that woman athletes are more likely to experience concussions in soccer than in other sport. Injuries such as sprained ankles, turf burns and concussions have increasingly been blamed on artificial grass. As a soccer player I have experienced both artificial and real grass, and in my opinion turf alters the speed, and quality of play on the field. Due to the flat surface the pace of the ball is much quicker, making the player adjust their touch. The turf creates unpredictable bounces, and makes slide tackling more painful and difficult. I truly believe that FIFA are discriminating against women. First, FIFA earned more than 4 billion dollars in total revenue from the men’s world cup, so they are not in any way hurting for money. Also, The Canadian men’s team refused to play on artificial fields during 2014 World Cup qualifying, and Canadian soccer officials admitted that natural grass was preferable for hosting such matches. Also, Canada is looking to host the 2026 men’s world cup, and all of those games are slotted to be played on grass. The primary question is why FIFA won’t hold its men’s and women’s World Cups to the same standard, and why FIFA won’t grant women soccer players their preferred pitch while the organization would bend over backward to accommodate the men’s soccer players who make similar claims.