2015 Women’s World Cup: US Senators Support Players’ Turf War


The ongoing turf war intensified Friday afternoon on November 7, as a group of 13 U.S Senators joined ranks with over 60 international soccer players including U.S star players Abby Wambach, Sydney Leroux, and Heather O’Reilly who are fighting.

The senators wrote letters on Friday to FIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter and U.S Soccer’s President Sunil Gulati. Since Gulati is a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee, they urged him to get behind his players and fight for natural surfaces for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

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The 13 U.S Senators join a growing list of high-profile figures who have publicly supported these players through social media all to help them gain a level playing field in the soccer community. Among these high-profile figures are actor Tom Hanks, professional basketball players Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, professional soccer player Tim Howard, and professional football player Colin Kaepernick.

At the end of the day a public relations war can only help the players out so much. It seems inevitable that the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be played on FieldTurf. FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) have done their best to ensure the lawsuit is dragged out for as long as possible so that no radical transformations in venues can be completed in the remaining timeframe. The CSA claims that the player’s lawsuit is without merit and they argue that turf is a “first class surface.”

“This is going to be a fantastic playing surface and a fantastic tournament. There’s no merit, in our view, at the suggestion that it is in any way discriminatory”-Sean Hern

Even the $3 million dollar sod proposal that the players made back in September will most likely be ignored by FIFA. It’s not that FIFA doesn’t have the money, just last year FIFA’s reserves grew to $1.432 billion after making a $72 million profit in 2013. Quite honestly, it’s because FIFA does not care about the women’s game. It never has and only recently has this indifference come to light.

In an exclusive interview with Grant Wahl on her experience with sexism and FIFA, Abby Wambach recounts a time in the VIP lounge before the 2013 World Player of the Year gala in Zurich, Switzerland when Blatter enthusiastically greeted Wambach’s now-wife, Sarah Huffman, as five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Marta (Brazil).

"“Marta!” Blatter said, hugging a bewildered Huffman, who doesn’t look much like Marta. “You are the best! The very best!” “He had no idea who Marta was, and she’s won the award five times,” says Wambach. “For me, that’s just a slap in the face because it shows he doesn’t really care about the women’s game.”"

If FIFA genuinely wants to grow the women’s game, they should make every attempt to erase gender discrimination and level the playing field for men and women. The infamous Turf War is not only a battle for the present but also a fight for the future.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup will be here before we know it. The only question is will it be played on turf or natural grass.