SPORTS

FIFA says some of the Women's World Cup artificial turf may need to be replaced

01/16/2015 11:40 EST | Updated 03/18/2015 05:59 EDT
PHILADELPHIA - FIFA has reiterated that the Women's World Cup will be played on artificial grass in Canada but acknowledges that some surfaces may need to be replaced.

Tatjana Haenni, FIFA's head of women's competitions, told a FIFA "Live Your Goals Tour" news conference Friday that the artificial turf is being tested to make sure it meets standards.

"We know that Vancouver is an issue," Haenni said of B.C. Place Stadium, which will host the World Cup final among other games. "We had some players commenting on that, also from the German national team who have played an international friendly there recently who made some comments.

"So obviously all those fields will be looked at and there's a potential that some of those fields will have to be changed."

There is no plan to go to grass, however, she repeated.

The 24-country tournament runs June 6 to July 5 in Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

A group of elite women's players has launched a complaint in the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, alleging that forcing women to play on an artificial surface while the men play their showcase tournament on grass is discriminatory.

That complaint, launched against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association, is currently before the tribunal.

FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke met with players before the recent Ballon D'Or presentation in Zurich.

"The topic should be over by now," said Haenni, noting FIFA's repeated statements that the tournament will go ahead as planned on artificial turf.

"I also think by now, and I think some players said it as well, at one points there's a time where you need to focus on football and on the event," she added. "All those teams and players and coaches want to win that Women's World Cup ... There's a certain time where you need to focus and you need to accept certain environmental or infrastructural conditions, whatever it is."

The World Cup, she stressed, can lead to improved funding, sponsorship and exposure to the women's game.

"i really hope at one point we can go to those positive messages and forget the turf discussion."

Haenni said she is confident that the Canada in 2015 will follow the past trend of each World Cup improving over the last.

"The players just get better. There's no way to stop that so the games will be better. I'm also convinced because the media coverage, the requests we have had so far have really been tremendous."

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

MORE:cpSports