Safety and equality should be present on the world’s biggest stage


Niki Smither, Reporter

Thirty days, 24 teams, six stadiums, one World Champion. On June 6, 2015, the FIFA Women’s World Cup will kick off in a match between the host nation, Canada, and the People’s Republic of China, except something will be different from the past World Cups.

Since 1991, when the women played their first World Cup, every single game has been played on natural grass. FIFA has never had a World Cup game, men’s or women’s, that’s been played on artificial turf. Soccer is a completely different game on turf– the ball moves faster, it’s harder on players’ bodies, and it makes the chance of the ball becoming airborne more likely. Not to mention that turf makes it easier for players to get concussions and that women are more susceptible to getting concussions in the first place, according to The American Academy of Neurology.

FIFA only gives teams an opportunity to be crowned champions once every four years. Twenty-four teams with only one victor. The World Cup is going to display perhaps the best soccer of the year. The level of competition exhibited in these games is the highest it could possibly be. Teams deal with both the honor and stress of representing their country. The women face the same pressures as the men, but the men don’t have to play on turf. They play every single game on grass.  It would only make sense that FIFA allow the women to play on real, natural grass, not fake grass.

Real grass shouldn’t be used just because this is the World Cup, but because it’s only fair that women get to play on the same type of surface as men. It’s ridiculous for international stars to have to file a lawsuit against FIFA in efforts to get fair treatment. In October of 2014, USA star Abby Wambach, German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, and several other world soccer figures filed a lawsuit claiming the change in playing surface was gender discrimination.

“There’s so many different debates around this. But the reality is, the men would never play [the World Cup] on field turf,” Wambach told the AP. “So for me, it’s a women’s rights issue, it’s an equality issue.”

If men were forced to take part in the World Cup on artificial turf, they wouldn’t play. The fact that FIFA won’t change the fields makes me wonder if women’s soccer is as important as men’s is to them.

Despite the valiant efforts led by the United States’ Abby Wambach, the 2015 Women’s World Cup will still be played on artificial turf. Hopefully FIFA will see that it’s not only safer for their games to be played on natural grass, but that it’s only fair.