11/13/2014 04:57 EST | Updated 01/13/2015 05:59 EST

Female soccer players renew request for fast-track hearing on artificial turf

TORONTO - Lawyers representing players opposed to the use of artificial turf at the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada have asked the Human Rights of Tribunal of Ontario to reconsider its denial of an expedited hearing.

The female players have launched a complaint arguing that the Canadian Soccer Association's use of artificial turf at the six-city tournament discriminated against women because men play their showcase on natural grass.

In filing their complaint, they asked for an expedited hearing. The tribunal turned down that request, agreeing with the Canadian Soccer Association that the women could have filed their complaint earlier.

Instead, the tribunal offered early mediation for both sides. The players agreed but the CSA declined.

In asking the tribunal to reconsider its interim decision, lawyers for the players argue that the tribunal relied on the mistaken assumption that the CSA was willing to take part in mediation.

The lawyers argue that the CSA's position on mediation means an expedited hearing "provides the only possible means of addressing respondents' pending discriminatory action."

The lawyers also said that the interim decision did not address the women's contention that they were misled by the CSA and FIFA that their strong preference for real grass would be acted on.

The CSA, meanwhile, filed a letter with the tribunal clarifying an earlier assertion that Canada had never bid on a men's World Cup. In fact, Canada tried in 1984 — unsuccessfully — to host the 1986 World Cup that ended up in Mexico.

"This clarification does not affect the substance of the CSA's submissions," wrote CSA lawyer Joseph Arvay, noting that it occurred 20 years prior to turf becoming a permitted surface under the laws of the game.

The tribunal appears to have several interim decisions before it.