A group of leading women’s soccer players have ended their quest for gender equality at the FIFA World Cup.
The Abby-Wambach-led group of stars, which was seeking to compel FIFA to stage the 2015 Women’s World Cup on natural grass instead of artificial turf, dropped its legal complaint against world soccer’s governing body Wednesday. The players accepted FIFA’s decision to play the upcoming Women’s World Cup, which Canada will host, on artificial turf less than six months before the start of the tournament, according to The Associated Press.
“Our legal action has ended,” Wambach said in a statement. “But I am hopeful that the players’ willingness to contest the unequal playing fields — and the tremendous public support we received during the effort — marks the start of even greater activism to ensure fair treatment when it comes to women’s sports.
Wambach and other stars filed a lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Canada in September. The complaint accused FIFA and the CSA of gender discrimination by staging the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf fields. The six prior Women’s World Cups and all 20 men’s World Cups have been played exclusively on grass.
FIFA has defended the use of artificial-turf fields at each of the six venues for Canada 2015, arguing the country’s weather makes it difficult to bring fields up to “optimum conditions” in time for the tournament.
Mia Hamm was among a number of former players who called on FIFA to play the 2015 World Cup on natural grass. NBA star Kobe Bryant and actor Tom Hanks also have supported the players’ cause.
The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup runs from June 6 to July 5.
When it kicks off, the score will be: FIFA 1 – 0 women’s rights.
Photo via Twitter/@cbcsports