19th March 2018

Canadian 2026 World Cup stadiums likely to feature natural grass

The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) has confirmed that it is likely that Canadian stadiums involved in the combined American bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup will feature natural grass, in contrast to the 2015 Women’s World Cup, where it argued that artificial turf was the only option. “I believe moving forward that the inclination will be towards natural grass for the competition”, CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli told the Canadian Press. “But we’re waiting for after the bid is awarded to enter into those discussions with FIFA”.

Ahead of the 2015 women’s tournament, over 50 players filed a lawsuit with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario arguing discrimination on grounds of gender, as FIFA would never allow the men’s tournament to be played on unsafe artificial grass. The lawsuit was later withdrawn by the players, after it became clear that FIFA was not going to order that natural grass must be installed.

It is understood that in 2015, Montopoli and the CSA had argued that the Women’s World Cup could not be played on natural grass for climatic reasons. However during several games, the artificial turf had the effect of raising the on-field temperature to dangerous levels. Both the women’s and men’s World Cups take place in summer.

Toronto’s BMO Field is the only one of three Canadian 2026 candidate cities that has a grass surface, and half of the US stadiums involved in the bid are also understood to feature artificial turf. “We’re not really concerned from a surface point of view”, Montopoli told the Canadian Press. “We know we have eight years to figure that component out should we be lucky to be granted the competition by FIFA”.

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