Turf Controversy

Written in 2015 by Brian Wolfson, Maddie Keyes, Deemer Class, Haley Amster and Raya Islam


Perhaps the most controversial topic of the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada prior to its start has been FIFA’s decision to use artificial turf instead of natural grass fields. Many have wondered why FIFA has chosen to implement this new decision. In this page, we will address many issues that have risen from this controversy:

Gender Differences

The idea of gender discrimination was the central point of contention in the turf controversy debate. This page explores the reasons why the decision to play on turf could be considered discrimination in relation to past World Cups and how the players are reacting to it.

Effects on Playing Style and Player Perceptions 

Why do so many players of all ranges dislike playing on turf? This page goes deeper into the science of how turf changes the way the game is played, as well as why players act the way they do to turf surfaces.


Increased likelihood of injuries is a major concern among players when it comes to playing on turf. However, is this increase an injuries just a perception? This page analyzes players’ opinions and takes a look at some major research studies done about injuries and artificial turf.

FIFA and CSA Court Case

The turf controversy erupted into a legal battle, which was eventually dropped by the female athletes that initiated it. This section details the course of the legal proceedings, the arguments made, and the overall merit of the case and the involved parties.

Turf vs. Grass

Was FIFA’s decision to use artificial turf justified? This page will analyze many components of the debate between turf and grass, with an in-depth focus on the different types of natural grass and artificial turfs, costs, and FIFA’s reasoning for using artificial turf instead of grass.


How to cite this page: “Turf Controversy” Written By Brian Wolfson, Maddie Keyes, Deemer Class, Haley Amster and Raya Islam (2015), World Cup 2015, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/world-cup-guides/world-cup-2015-guide/ (accessed on (date)).

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