On Sunday, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team refused to take the field for a friendly game against Trinidad y Tobago after inspecting conditions on the turf field, and deeming them too dangerous. An argument about the safety of these fake grass fields with FIFA has been going on for over a year, with the women’s team claiming it is sexist that they are being forced to play on turf fields while men are not. Playing on turf could cause players to trip, deter them from diving or sliding for fear of burns, or even cause more serious injuries. “We have become so accustomed to playing on whatever surface is put in front of us,” the team wrote in an open letter posted Monday on the Players’ Tribune. “But we need to realize that our protection — our safety — is priority No. 1.” While the U.S. women’s team played 8 out of 10 games during this summer’s World Cup on turf, men are almost never asked to do the same. Retired all-star Abby Wambach filed a discrimination lawsuit against FIFA last year, asserting that men have never had to play a World Cup on turf, but FIFA managed to delay the lawsuit until the women’s team had no choice but to compete on fake grass. It is still to be seen how FIFA will respond to the new protests by the ruling world champions.
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