Councillor Adriane Carr demands in City Council motion “level playing field” for women’s World Cup soccer in Vancouver


Real grass reduces risk of injury; could be reused 

Carrie.pngMen’s premier sporting teams refuse to play on artificial turf because it is an inferior surface that poses greater risk of player injury and increased concussions. So Councillor Adriane Carr is urging the City of Vancouver to create a “level playing field for women” and provide real grass for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup games to be played in Vancouver. 

On October 20, Carr submitted a Motion on Notice for the October 28 Vancouver City Council meeting for the City of Vancouver to provide a grass field for the six games and final match of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup games — projected to be the world’s largest women’s sporting event ever. [See full details below.

“I believe it’s critical that Vancouver provides natural grass, not artificial turf, as a point of safety and equity for women players,” says Carr, who has been working on the issue with former soccer star Carrie Serwetnyk, the founder of Equal Play and the first female inductee into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. 

“It’s such a double standard that men are not asked to play on artificial turf because it’s known to have a higher risk for injuries and health issues, but women are.” 

As well, Carr points out that while the decision to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf was made by FIFA and the CSA, negative press surrounding the decision will jeopardize Vancouver’s reputation as a world-class city for sporting events after the City worked so hard to successfully host the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

Carr says the cost of using real grass, estimated at $250,000, should be covered by the BC Government and PavCo (BC Pavilion Corporation), the owners of BC Place. Otherwise, the City could use funds from the Capital Budget (“emerging priorities”) and investigate whether the grass can be re-used after the tournament for Vancouver playing and school fields in need of new grass. 

BACKGROUNDER 

For October 28 Council Meeting

Vancouver to provide real grass not artificial turf for 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup 

MOVER: Councillor Adriane Carr
SECONDER:

WHEREAS

  1. Vancouver is hosting six games plus the final match for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a soccer tournament projected to be the world’s largest ever women’s sporting event; 
  2. The games are scheduled for BC Place stadium, which has artificial turf, but men’s premier leagues refuse to play on artificial turf because it is an inferior surface that poses greater risk of player injury and increased concussions; 
  3. The laws of Canada prohibit gender discrimination in the contexts of employment and public facilities and our Vancouver Park Board has been a leader on equal access for women in our recreational system;
  4.  No men’s World Cup tournament has ever been played on anything other than grass and, when men’s premier teams demand that grass is put down on the field, their demands are met, including when Manchester City refused to play in Vancouver unless the game was played on grass;
  5. Eighteen elite women soccer players from eleven different countries, including Brazil’s five-time World Player of the Year Marta and Abby Wamback of the USA and Nadine Angerer of Germany (the 2013 and 2014 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year), filed a lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) in the Human Rights Tribunal Court of Ontario that the use of artificial turf in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is gender discrimination as it “devalues the players’ dignity, state of mind and self-respect by requiring them to play on a second-class surface”;
  6. Although the decision to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf was made by FIFA and the CSA, the negative press will damage the reputation of Vancouver as a world class sporting event host city. 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED 

  1. THAT the City of Vancouver informs FIFA and the CSA that we intend to provide a grass field for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup games played in Vancouver and we urge FIFA and the CSA to require grass fields for the entire 2015 tournament;
  2. FURTHER THAT the City of Vancouver press the BC Government and PavCo (BC Pavilion Corporation), the owners of BC Place, to lay down grass for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup games being held at BC Place at their expense;
  3. FURTHER THAT, in the event that PavCo will not provide the funds needed to lay down grass for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup that the City of Vancouver offer the funds (estimated at $250,000), from our Capital Budget “emerging priorities”, and investigate whether the grass can be re-used after the tournament for Vancouver fields in need of new grass.