FIFA: The World Cup Should Be Played on Natural Grass

To: FIFA Women's World Cup Committee & Peter Montopoli, Chief Executive Officer for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

FIFA: The World Cup Should Be Played on Natural Grass
of 25,000 signatures
Campaign created by Sophie Vick Icon-email

We, the undersigned, are calling on FIFA to modify the venues for the women's 2015 World Cup games to fields with natural grass.

Why is this important?

In 2012, the Women’s Gold Medal soccer match for the London Olympics was the NBC Sports Network’s most watched event in the network's history with 4.35 million viewers. More people around the world livestreamed the women's final than any other sporting event during the Olympics.

And yet, still, professional women soccer players struggle to be given the respect they deserve. The latest insult to professional women soccer players comes with the decision by FIFA to hold the entire 2015 Women's World Cup tournament on artificial turf.

When Abby Wambach -- the 2012 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year -- heard of this news, she noted, "The men would strike playing on artificial turf." And Wambach, who is known for her physical style of play, should be especially worried. The American Academy of Neurology recently reported that concussions appear to be more prevalent for certain athletes playing on artificial turf, and that women athletes appear more likely to experience concussions in soccer than in other sports.

Artificial turf has been blamed for increased injuries on sporting fields, including more sprained ankles, concussions, turf burns, and an injury known as "turf toe." Overheating is also a health concern for athletes since temperatures can be hotter on artificial surfaces than on natural grass. Finally, turf is widely known to alter the speed and quality of play on the field. With all of this in mind, it's not hard to understand why many players feel that being forced to play their World Cup on artificial turf is gender discrimination.

I'm a huge fan of women's soccer. I love going to Washington Spirit games -- where the team plays on natural grass -- and I'm excited to attend the upcoming CONCACAF qualifiers for the Women's World Cup. These women deserve respect for their athleticism and that's why I'm standing up with professional players from national teams around the world who have spoken out and signed on to this campaign as well.

Some of the best soccer players in the world deserve to play the most competitive matches of their lives on real grass. FIFA has the power to modify the venues for the World Cup games to fields with real grass. Do the right thing, FIFA, and give professional women soccer players the respect they deserve.

More players continue to sign this petition! As of October 20, 2014, more than 70 national team players from at least 17 different national teams have signed this petition to FIFA calling for natural grass in the 2015 Women's World Cup. Below is a list of professional players who've so far signed this petition:

Abby Wambach - USA
Heather O'Reilly - USA
Carli Lloyd - USA
Shannon Boxx - USA
Ali Krieger - USA
Alex Morgan - USA
Whitney Engen - USA
Ashlyn Harris - USA
Christie Rampone - USA
安藤 梢 (Kozue Ando) - JPN
大儀見 優季 (Yūki Ōgimi) - JPN
Anja Mittag - GER
Nadine Angerer - GER
Annike Krahn - GER
Célia Okoyino da Mbabi - GER
Kim Kulig - GER
Almuth Schult - GER
Laura Benkarth - GER
Melanie Behringer - GER
Nadine Keßler - GER
Lena Goeßling - GER
Alexandra Popp - GER
Babbett Peter - GER
Melissa Barbieri - AUS
Sam Kerr - AUS
Caitlin Foord - AUS
Natalia Gaitan - COL
Melissa Ortiz - COL
Nataly Arias - COL
Stefany Castaño - COL
Eugénie Le Sommer - FRA
Camille Abily - FRA
Wendie Renard - FRA
Sarah Bouhaddi - FRA
Élise Bussaglia - FRA
Louisa Nécib - FRA
Caroline Seger - SWE
Lotta Schelin - SWE
Kosavare Asllani - SWE
Olivia Schough - SWE
Sara Thunebro - SWE
Malin Levenstad - SWE
Sofia Lundgren - SWE
Emma Berglund - SWE
Charlotte Rohlin - SWE
Hedvig Lindahl - SWE
Nilla Fischer - SWE
Annica Svensson - SWE
Therese Sjoran - SWE
Caroline Jönsson - SWE
Anita Asante - ENG
Faye White - ENG
Nora Holstad - NOR
Ingvild Isaken - NOR
Maren Mjelde - NOR
Arianna Romero - MEX
Theresa 'Lupita' Worbis - MEX
Jackie Acevedo - MEX
Renae Cuéllar - MEX
Ana-Maria Crnogorčević - SUI
Noëlle Maritz - SUI
Vanessa Bernauer - SUI
Sandra Betschart - SUI
Martina Moser - SUI
Rahel Kiwic - SUI
Fabienne Humm - SUI
Shannon Smyth - IRL
Ciara Grant (b. 1993) - IRL
Veronica Boquete - ESP
Erin Nayler - NZF
Stefanía Maggiolini - URY
Desire Oparanozie - NGA
Indira Ilić - SRB
Getter Laar - EST
Michelle Akers - USA (Retired)
Linda Hamilton - USA (Retired)
Sandra Smisek - GER (Retired)

Category: Health & safety
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Reasons for signing

  • Crosby M. 2015-04-07 23:51:40 -0400
    It is vital that we provide all players with the resources they need to perform at the best of their ability, whether they are male or female. It's not just about equality, but safety as well.
  • Hannah P. 2015-03-19 11:35:12 -0400
    We need equality on and off the field. If Fifa wants to prove that they support all players, than they can start by doing something as simple as letting women play on the same type of field the men ALWAYS play on. Do you think Fifa would ever make players like Messi or Ronaldo play a world cup on turf, of course not. We need equality and it starts with this.
  • erick r. 2015-02-25 19:53:19 -0500
    es mejor jugar en pasto natural, evita las lesiones


6 minutes ago

Abby Wambach broke news today that FIFA leaders assured her that the Women's World Cup would never again be played on turf. She said, “[Valcke] assured us that the Women’s World Cup would never be played on turf again. He gave me his word, which for me, that’s a win. For me, that’s progress.”

10 minutes ago

Abby Wambach says in a new interview that FIFA rejected an offer for free grass installation for 2015 Women's World Cup venues. Read it here:

3 months ago

The players have withdrawn their legal complaint on the use of artificial turf. Abby Wambach, one of the leaders of the complaint, told press "I am hopeful that the players’ willingness to contest the unequal playing fields – and the tremendous public support we received during the effort – marks the start of even greater activism to ensure fair treatment when it comes to women’s sports." Read more here:

4 months ago

The entire Australian women's national team has threatened to join the legal fight against the use of artificial turf in the 2015 Women's World Cup if a resolution cannot be reached. Read more, here:

5 months ago

20,000 signatures reached

5 months ago

The U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association issued a statement Monday saying its members "fully support the women's national team players from around the world in their efforts to play on natural grass at the 2015 Women's World Cup." They continue, "To play the Women’s World Cup on artificial turf would be a serious mistake."

5 months ago

Twelve U.S. Senators have sent a letter asking FIFA to "reconsider [the] short-sighted and counterproductive decision" to host the 2015 Women's World Cup on artificial turf. Read the full letter here:

6 months ago

Lawyers say that FIFA has threatened retaliation against players fighting artificial turf:

6 months ago

Alex Morgan says in an interview that she is "very optimistic that we will get something settled" on the issue of artificial turf in the World Cup. More here:

6 months ago

On October 1st, attorneys representing 40 of the top female soccer players in the world filed a lawsuit in Canada. The lawsuit alleges that FIFA and CSA's decision to play the 2015 Women's World Cup on artificial turf is gender discrimination. More here:

7 months ago

10,000 signatures reached

7 months ago

Major Canadian news outlet CBCNews reports that "gender discrimination allegations dog promotional efforts" for the upcoming World Cup. Former Canadian national team player Carrie Serwetnyk told reporters "They would never in a heartbeat think of putting anything less than grass for the men," she said. "They'd protest. It would be a scandal." Read more:

7 months ago

Lawyers: FIFA ‘misled players’ about input on playing surfaces for 2015 Women’s World Cup

7 months ago

Reporter @Sarah_Gehrke looks at how the Women’s Euro 2013 tournament in Norway converted FIFA 2 star synthetic pitches into an international standard natural grass pitch. Read more

8 months ago

5,000 signatures reached

8 months ago

Tom Hanks just announced his support for the women players on Twitter:

8 months ago

The Chair of the historic 1999 Women's World Cup says "The same standards should apply for both the Men's and Women's tournaments."

8 months ago

Players across the NWSL are participating in the #GreenUp challenge, wearing green pre-wrap at games to show they're against gender discrimination in soccer.

8 months ago

The New York Times reports on this petition and the decision by players to retain legal counsel.

8 months ago

Many of the professional women soccer players who signed this petition urging FIFA to use natural grass in the 2015 Women's World Cup have now retained legal counsel. Read more:

9 months ago

In an interview with, Megan Rapinoe says playing a World Cup on turf is 'bullshit'.

over 1 year ago


over 1 year ago

During this week's USWNT game against Mexico, commentators JP Dellacamera and Kate Markgraf voiced their opposition to the use of artificial turf in the women's World Cup. Listen:

over 1 year ago

USA Today: "U.S. soccer star says World Cup on turf will hurt game"

almost 2 years ago The tweet that triggered a national movement of players and fans against artificial turf in the 2015 Women's World Cup.