Women Footballers May Sue FIFA For Discrimination (And They Should)

  • David Young

Alex Morgan

As we learned from this year’s Men’s World Cup (and the one before it, and the one before it), FIFA and its president Sepp Blatter are more greedy than intelligent. So for next year’s Women’s World Cup in Canada, FIFA has matches being played on artificial turf. And if you’ve ever played on – or even walked on – artificial turf, you know it’s not much better than landing on a sheet thrown over a concrete floor.

Players from numerous countries such as the US’s Alex Morgan and Germany’s Nadine Angerer have retained counsel and sent FIFA a letter asking for a change of venues to natural grass, or face a lawsuit for gender discrimination. Gender what? Wait, isn’t this about injuries and recovery time and headers? Absolutely, but think about it: How much was spent on all those stadiums in Brazil? What kind of outcry would there be if the men were made to play on turf? Why did FIFA try to get this past the women and not the men? Yes, it certainly looks like discrimination.

Of course, Blatter did his usual to make matters worse when he said,

Football is very macho. It’s so difficult to accept in the game. Not playing the game, but in the governance.

FIFA’s lack of concern for health and safety issues for its athletes should be no surprise as they turned a blind eye in Brazil and allowed players to stay in matches when they showed signs of concussions (or even lost consciousness). But this is different. It’s one thing to make the trade of dollars over health (not a good thing, but it’s still a thing), but it’s quite another to give even less of a damn for the female players. Or in other words, a greedy SOB is bad, but a bully is worse.

Let’s hope FIFA steps up and pries its wallet open to use part of that multi-billion Brazilian bounty it reaped to make the women’s matches as safe as the men’s were (or actually, safer). Remember, basketball and tennis are supposed be played on courts, not football.

NOTE: Note that every single article and tweet I consulted eventually used some form of the phrase “Literal Turf War.” I take full credit for avoiding this obvious line. Or rather, for relying on different obvious lines.

Photo via Getty

David Young has been a columnist for Sports Illustrated and ESPN, and is now one for SportsGrid.com. Follow him on Twitter @turksyflying.