Clock ticking on World Cup turf fight

Alex Livesey/FIFA/Getty Images

Players, led by U.S. forward Abby Wambach, have been protesting the use of turf at the Women's World Cup.

ZURICH -- Time is running out for a movement to avoid playing on artificial turf at the Women's World Cup in Canada next year.

Players led by United States forward Abby Wambach have been publicly protesting since last year, and have hired a law firm which is considering taking legal action in Canada.

Safety is at the heart of the issue, with the players arguing that injuries are more likely on artificial turf.

FIFA is not concerned after the matter was discussed at an executive meeting on Friday, but has ratified a decision to send an independent team to Canada to test the pitches.

Rafael Salguero of Guatemala -- one of the three delegates from the CONCACAF region which includes the U.S. and Canada -- adds the tournament will be "excellent.''

In late July, the players joined in a letter of protest to FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association, saying that unless their concerns are addressed, legal action could be taken based on Canada's laws against gender-based discrimination.

FIFA rules stipulate that matches can be played on artificial turf if special dispensation is granted, as it did in Canada's case.

The regulations also state that all matches in a tournament must be played on the same surface.

Canada's bid for the event stipulated that the final be played at Vancouver's BC Place, which seats 55,000 and has an artificial turf.

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