The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

VIEWPOINT – Left unchecked, women’s soccer woes could hurt FIFA

By Jamil Oakford/editor-in-chief

FIFA, the world’s governing soccer association, has a relatively short relationship with women’s soccer.

Still, in this relatively short time, FIFA has found ways to remind the public that women’s soccer isn’t as elite as men’s.

In the most recent example, FIFA found itself facing an almost-certain coup from a number of female players when they caught wind that their World Cup taking place this summer would be played on artificial turf.

The argument of artificial turf to many American sport fans is almost moot. Professional football — American football, that is — athletes have played on turf as early as 1968.

Soccer players generally have fought the switch to turf and for good reasons, mainly for its lack of safety.

Some of the biggest names in women’s soccer from all around the world came together and filed a lawsuit in Canada back in October against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association.

They argued FIFA would never subject or force any male soccer team to turf pitches, and this was discrimination against women players.

This claim was backed up by the backlash received from male players when Qatar proposed turf pitches for the 2022 World Cup. It silenced any further conversation on that particular matter.

FIFA argues that the cost to pull up the turf on the Canadian pitches and re-sod with natural grass would cost $3 to $5 million.

That cost is high, but that’s mere pennies compared to what FIFA needs to shell out for the men’s World Cup in Qatar. To keep the pitches playable and cool, FIFA will have to pay for state-of-the-art climate control. And there’s no complaint from leadership about that process being too costly.

A handful of European teams use turf, mostly comprised of teams unheard of in the U.S. This paired with an Under-17 World Cup played entirely on turf sets up a trend that is painfully obvious. FIFA allows turf for teams or matches they deem not elite.

Yes, it’s true: Women don’t bring in the same ratings as men’s soccer, and they’re hardly on the same pay scale.

But if FIFA wants to see a more lucrative side from their fairly recent partnership with women’s soccer, they need to stop treating them as inconsequential to their overall business model.

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