Round one to the CSA: Human Rights Tribunal co-chair won’t rush the turfgate case By Steven Sandor Posted on November 8, 2014 4 0 697 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has rejected a plea to expedite its hearing of the grass vs. turf case. A group of women’s players, including Americans Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach, Germany’s Nadine Angerer and Japan’s Yuki Ogimi had petitioned the HRTO to hear their plea against the use of artificial turf fields at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. The Canadian Soccer Association and FIFA have defended the use of the artificial-turf fields, while the women’s players named in the suit (a total of 15 on the document) wanted to speed the case forward in hopes of getting a ruling in favour of grass in time for it to have an impact on the WWC. The CSA’s lawyers have stated that they doesn’t feel the HRTO has the jurisdiction to rule on a Women’s World Cup, as five of the six venues being used in the tournament are located outside of the province of Ontario. On Friday, HRTO co-chair Jo-Anne Pickel rejected the players’ plea to expedite the case, basically killing any chance to have it heard in time to have a meaningful impact on the WWC. She wrote that, as expedited cases put all other matters before the HRTO on the back burner, it would be unfair to all the other applicants. It would be unfair of the HRTO to delay other cases of racial, workplace and/or gender discrimination to accommodate the players. And, Pickel said it would be even harder to expedite the case, when the players themselves waited till 2014 to file, even though the World Cup was awarded to Canada in 2011 — and it was common knowledge turf would be used. “Another key factor weighing against the applicants’ request is their failure to proceed expeditiously in filing their application once they became aware of the alleged breach of the Code,” Pickel wrote. Basically — if you take your sweet time to bring it to the tribunal, why should the tribunal then rush itself for you? “As significant as this case may be for the applicants, I do not find it appropriate to expedite an application where the applicants have not themselves acted expeditiously. I do not find it appropriate to expedite an application where the applicants did not file their application until 18 months or more after they reasonably would have been aware of the fact that gave rise to the application.” Pickel has now given the CSA and the applicants seven days to confirm or deny that they want to go into an early mediation process. According to Pickel’s paperwork, the CSA and the applicants agreed to take part in mediation. Now, the question is, would they take part in early mediation? (These look to be two separate things). The applicants have applied for an “interim remedy” – think of it as an injunction — and the HRTO says it will rule on that in the coming weeks.