Hey, FIFA. Can we talk, for a minute, about turf?
I can’t seem to contain my rage that the Women’s World Cup (as we’ve all been conditioned now to call it) is being played on turf. No Men’s World Cup (no one is going to call it that when it happens, is it? I may have to wage a one-woman war on that front) tournament (or even a single game) has been played on turf. Why? Easy. Turf sucks.
As a totally amateur and terrible softball player for an office team many years ago, I know this first-hand. When we’d be scheduled for turf games, I would often be “not feeling well” or mysteriously “delayed on the subway” for our team’s softball games, because turf sucks. It hurts. It burns when you fall. It’s really freaking hot. And tiny tiny rubber pellets creep into the crevices of your body and never leave. (I have experienced what the USWNT members discuss here. It’s not pretty.)
Abby Wambach and some other players tried to sue FIFA for this, but ultimately dropped the lawsuit because it wouldn’t be resolved in time for the Cup. While this has resulted in an absolutely delightful sponsorship deal between Wambach and Scott’s Lawn Care, it is still completely shameful. It’s as simple as this: women deserve equal treatment in tournament play. That includes the surface on which they play. If FIFA wouldn’t choose it for the men, then it’s not acceptable for the women.
I’d really rather be talking about something else at this point (like how freaking awesome Julie Johnston is playing), but FIFA’s questionable decision-making (in all things, truly) continues to leave this topic open for discussion. I’m frustrated and angry as we advance further in the Cup. Perhaps a reformed FIFA may be better for women, but we’ll probably have to have some actual women involved in the FIFA administration for us to even have a chance of that happening.