Women of the World Cup shine despite Canada’s shameful plastic pitches

July 6, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Posted in General Football, Vancouver Whitecaps, World Cup Memories | 2 Comments
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The fact is we Canadians let the best women football players in the world down by making them play a World Cup on inferior plastic playing surfaces.

I am embarrassed as a Canadian that my country, a first world country, could not provide grass playing surfaces for the world’s best players. While the organization and attendance at the World Cup were top class, the playing surfaces were truly embarrassing, making this a much poorer World Cup to watch than the last one.

While Canada’s World Cup showed top class organization, the poor playing surfaces show we as Canadians are still in the stone age in footballing terms. All of those apologists for the plastic pitches, including the Canadian Soccer Association, demonstrated they simply don’t know football and don’t deserve to be in the positions they are in.

Many of the top players, like Abby Wambach, had the courage to launch a human rights lawsuit about it, but dropped it to play football instead. We owe them a debt of gratitude for that.

Abby Wambach got to have her cake and eat it too. She had the courage to expose the sexist attitudes that our plastic playing surfaces represented and then went on to win the trophy nonetheless. She proved she is a true champion and a courageous person who is willing to speak her mind. She spoke the truth: it is laughable to even suggest the Men’s World Cup would ever be played on plastic grass.

I got to take in two matches: USA v Nigeria and Canada v Switzerland. Both matches were played in front of more than 50,000 people. It was a spectacular affirmation of the greatness of women’s sport, and an affirmation of the greatness of the players, whose names and exploits we will not forget. I will never forget the sight of Japan’s Homare Sawa coming in as a sub in the final in her sixth world cup. Simply unforgettable.

Our Canadian team was knocked out earlier than we would have liked but is there any doubt they made us proud to be Canadian? I am grateful to them all, even to those who made errors. They all had the courage to pull the red jersey on to fight for our country in front of tens of thousands of people. Canadian girls,(and boys too, it turns out!), will remember this tournament and will strive to win a World Cup one day.

What a shame it is the tournament was not played on grass. It would have been better as a spectacle, the football would have been better, and the players would have felt better and played better. From watching this World Cup there is no doubt in my mind that Canada’s plastic playing surfaces held the players back from their best.

Thank God women footballers have been promised the next Women’s World Cup will be held on proper grass playing surfaces. The top women’s football tournament should never be held on plastic playing surfaces again.



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  1. Respectfully have to disagree entirely.

    If it’s good enough for men to play on professionally on a regular basis – and it is indeed – it was good enough for the WWC. Do I think AT is as ideal to play on as grass, no. But neither do I sympathize with the wails of iniquity and sexism.

    Until soccer enjoys enough popularity to warrant construction of large-scale soccer-specific stadiums, and the investment in the expensive infrastructure needed to properly maintain natural turf fields, we’re not likely to see professional matches on grass here in Vancouver.

    Swangard stadium in Burnaby, was a gorgeous venue for watching the Whitecaps / 86ers play when they were playing in lower tiers, but it’s a municipal facility that’s woefully inadequate for MLS requirements. So, the Caps play at BC Place.

    Without the “plastic pitches” of Canada’s bid, there wouldn’t have been a WWC at all this year. And if Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, et al didn’t find it acceptable to play on, they could – and should – have boycotted the World Cup.

    Methinks she doth protest too much.

    • Thanks for your comments RR. My own view and the view of top players both men and women is that plastic grass is far inferior to natural grass pitches. The men get the best grass pitches in their World Cup and the Women should get the same in theirs. When Canada’s proposal was accepted it became a second rate World c\Cup played on second rate surfaces. Why should the greatest players in the World put up with that with no protest?

      I also do not accept that Grass pitches could not have been provided. Isn’t it rather odd that the WWC was not held in Canada’s National Soccer Stadium in Toronto? I also find it odd that Montreal’s Saputo stadium with its grass pitch was not used. I can only conclude that Canada used plastic grass in every venue to provide an “even playing field”, and a worse one at that.

      Given that Fans in MLS and in events like the WWC are filling stadia we deserve to see matches played on natural grass. As fans of the game we should demand the best pitch available. Why settle for second best?

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