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FIFA Women's World Cup artificial turf revealed in Vancouver

06/03/2015 06:08 EDT | Updated 06/03/2016 05:59 EDT
FIFA officials revealed the new artificial turf for the 2015 Women's World Cup at B.C. Place in Vancouver Wednesday, after months of controversy over the playing surface amongst soccer players around the world.

More than 60 elite female players sued soccer's governing body in October last year, after it decided to use artificial turf in the tournament.

The players alleged gender discrimination, because the Men's World Cup is played only on real grass, but the case was dropped in January.

Neil McPhee, who works for the FIFA-accredited testing institute for the Women's World Cup, says the artificial turf has advantages for consistency across games.

"Every natural pitch is different," he said. "There's more consistency with artificial turf because... it's tested very stringently."

The $1.3 million turf was paid for by the Canadian Soccer Association, Rugby Canada, and PavCo, the corporation that operates BC Place Stadium. 

A stadium in Moncton, N.B. has also spent $1.5 million converting their real grass to artificial turf for the Women's World Cup, so all the matches could be played on similar surfaces.

"It's a change, it's different, but it's part of the game," said Don Hardman of the FIFA National Organizing Committee.

"Technology advances in many aspects of life, and we're excited that we're part of the first ones to have it."

The Women's World Cup kicks off this Saturday, June 6 in Edmonton, Alta. BC Place will hold its first tournament match on June 8, hosting teams from Cameroon and Ecuador.

Matches will be held across the country in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, and Moncton. 

The final match will be held on July 5 in Vancouver.

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