FIFA to send independent company to “ensure” quality of Canada’s Women’s World Cup turf By Steven Sandor Posted on September 26, 2014 4 0 665 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter FIFA is going to contract an independent inspector to ensure that Canada’s artificial turf fields are indeed good enough to host a Women’s World Cup. After the Executive Committee wrapped up its meetings in Zurich, FIFA made this announcement: “Regarding the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada, the executive ratified the decision to assign an independent company to travel to Canada in order to test pitches and training fields to ensure they fulfil the FIFA quality requirements.” The Canadian Soccer Association says it will not make any comments about the timing of FIFA’s announcement, as this was a directive that the Association already knew about. It confirmed that the process of vetting the fields has actually already begun. Surfaces in Edmonton and Moncton are already approved. The goal is to have approval of the match surface and two training fields in each of the host cities. American star Abby Wambach is leading a group of elite women’s players who have launched legal action against the exclusive use of artificial turf at next year’s Women’s World Cup. They claim the use of turf is a case of gender bias, as no men’s World Cup has ever been staged on artificial turf. FIFA approves the use of artificial turf for international matches, as long as the surface meets FIFA’s star-rating system. Under FIFA rules, a senior World Cup (men or women) must be played on consistent surfaces — it either must be all grass or all turf for games and training sessions. The rule does not apply to youth tourneys; for example, this year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup had games on both grass and turf. The use of artificial turf was part of Canada’s bid for the Women’s World Cup, and has been common knowledge since the spring of 2011. But Wambach and her fellow players didn’t launch their legal challenge until 2014. Of course, an independent body’s rating — and not FIFA’s own rating — helps a legal defence against claims that the turf isn’t up to world-class standards.