A group of 40 women football stars have filed letters of protest threatening legal action to Fifa and the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) after it emerged that next summer’s World Cup 2015 will be played on artificial grass.
The petition, which accuses the World Cup organisers of gender discrimination is endorsed by Fifa players of the year, Abby Wambach of the US and Germany's Nadine Angerer, who won the awards in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
The athletes took action after finding out the whole of the Canadian World Cup will be played on articical turf, they hope this will be replaced with grass, the letter reads: "Singling out this women's tournament for sub-standard treatment is a mistake that can and must be corrected."
Among the critics of the pitches is former England football captain Faye White, who told the BBC: “Fifa would never dream of hosting a men's World Cup on artificial pitches so why the women’s? It makes you wonder if the women are some kind of guinea pigs.
“It's a strange decision. I would be really annoyed if I was expected to play on this as these pitches slow the game down, the ball bounces differently and there are more injury consequences.”
White added: "I can't believe there aren't enough grass pitches to host World Cup games in Canada. You've got to question why Fifa awarded it to Canada in the first place if that was the case."
Hampton Dellinger, a litigator representing the athletes, said: “We need to make clear that it is not only the wrong thing to do to put a first-class tournament on a second-class surface, but it’s also illegal.
The Canadian artificial pitches are one of a long line of ill perceived decisions from Fifa which is being ravaged by allegations of corruption.
This comes after Sony, earlier this summer, demanded a probe into Fifa’s businesses practises amid bribery accusations levelled towards the organisers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.