FIFA’s turf debate part of soccer’s long-standing gender problem

The symbolism of giving a synthetic turf to female athletes runs much deeper than the surface of a pitch

On Jan. 21 a group of more than 40 female soccer players dropped a gender discrimination lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association. The complaint was filed in October, opposing FIFA’s decision to hold the upcoming Women’s World Cup tournament on synthetic turf instead of real grass. The men’s games have never been played on artificial turf, and the next two men’s tournaments, in 2018 and 2022, will be played on real grass.

The symbolism of giving an inferior turf to female athletes runs much deeper than the surface of a pitch. By placing the Women’s Cup on an inferior surface, soccer’s governing body reinforced what we have been telling female athletes for decades: Their game is second-class. It is also the same subtle message we send to girls and women everywhere, every day: They deserve less. Even more harmful, fans, administrators, families, coaches and teachers appear comfortable with women’s getting less. The players’ decision to withdraw their suit validates this differential treatment, but we should support — not blame — them.

read more -> the original article published on Aljazeera.

 

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