By Kayla P.
Dating back to the Ancient times, women have taken tremendous steps in fighting for an equal status in sports. However, there are still signs that the battle for equality is far from over. A prime example of this is the Women’s World Cup this summer. The event will be held all across Canada, but despite this being such a fantastic opportunity to promote women’s soccer, the focus point has been whether the games should be played on natural grass or artificial turf.
Not even top international women soccer players could change the mind of one of the most powerful organizations in the world (FIFA). After months of fighting, these female soccer players ran out of arguments and realized they were quickly running out of time. 84 players on 13 different national teams- called turf “substandard and dangerous, and said it was something that FIFA and the CSA would never dream of asking top men’s players to play a World Cup on”(Franson, 2014). If these organizations are going to make women play on turf, why shouldn’t men have to perform at elite levels on this same surface? Men’s soccer is played at a much faster pace than women’s, could this be why they want women’s World Cup to be played on turf, to give the women’s game more pace? Or it is because men would put up too much of a fight if they were forced to play big tournaments on turf as well? There are so many questions as to why women are being forced to play on artificial turf.
Artificial turf has been blamed for increasing injuries such as sprained ankles, concussions, turf burns, heat stroke, etc. The World Cup is a huge tournament; much like the Olympics where everyone around the world enjoys watching, and cheering on their country. In 2012, the women’s gold medal soccer match for the London Olympics was the most watched event with 4.35 million viewers, and yet still, professional women soccer players struggle to be given the respect they deserve (Vick, 2015). With that many people tuning in to watch women’s soccer, why would anyone want to see the World Cup being played on something that increases injuries and puts the participants at risk? It’s a sign that the battle for equality is far from over, despite decades of progress.
USA striker Alex Morgan believes that the recent protest against Women’s World Cup being played on artificial turf underlines why days like International Women’s Day are so important (Trehan, 2015). Women have fought for gender equality for many years, and we continue to fight for it. It has certainly come a long way and seeing that women’s sports are beginning to sell out stadiums and more and more people are starting to watch women’s sports is great to see. Women’s sports in general need to be highlighted more, and not just soccer, but for every sport. Due to the amount of support that came with the protest of the Women’s World Cup marks the start of even greater activism to ensure fair treatment when it comes to women’s sports (Shoalts, 2015).
Franson (2015). Women drop artificial turf complaint over 2015 World Cup in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/2015/01/21/women-drop-artificial-turf-complaint-over-2015-world-cup-in-canada.html
Trehan (2015). USA striker Alex Morgan praises women fighting for gender equality. Retrieved from http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/12040/9749192/usa-striker-alex-morgan-praises-women-fighting-for-gender-equality
Vick (2015). FIFA: the world cup should be played on natural grass. Retrieved from https://www.coworker.org/petitions/fifa-the-world-cup-should-be-played-on-natural-grass
Shoalts (2015). Players drop legal fight over artificial turf in 2015 Women’s World Cup. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/women-withdraw-artificial-turf-complaint-over-2015-world-cup-in-canada/article22549311/