Politics & Policy

Female Soccer Stars’ Lawsuit Claims Games on AstroTurf Are Sexist Human-Rights Violations

A group of female Canadian soccer players have sued FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association, claiming that the plan to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf is a sexist “human rights” violation. 

The lawsuit argues that since men’s World Cup players are scheduled to play on natural grass at least through 2022, the current plan violates Section 1 of the Canadian human-rights code, which states that “every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination.”

According to the suit, the current arrangement is a serious violation of that principle because being forced to play on artificial turf amounts to “devaluing [the players’] dignity, state of mind, and self-respect . . . before tens of thousands of stadium spectators and a global broadcast audience.” 

The plaintiffs suggested installing natural grass on top of the turf or moving the games to a different location.

The filing lists players from almost a dozen different countries slated to play in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which is taking place in Canada.

Still, FIFA has insisted it will not budge on the issue. 

“We play on artificial turf and there’s no Plan B,” said Tatjana Haenni, the association’s deputy director and head of women’s competition.

The tournament is currently scheduled to begin June 6, 2015.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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