0 Fifa Women's World Cup: Valcke 'amazed' by discrimination claims

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke says it is "crazy" to suggest playing the Women's World Cup on artificial turf amounts to discrimination.

A group of leading players have filed a lawsuit claiming sexual discrimination over the decision to use the pitches at next year's tournament in Canada.

"It's completely crazy to say that. It has nothing to do with discrimination," Valcke said in Ottawa on Friday.

"I'm amazed by the size - the scale - of the discussion."

The lawsuit, filed under Ontario's Human Rights Code, cites gender discrimination, with the argument it should be a tournament played on grass, as every men's World Cup has been.

A human rights tribunal has suggested mediation in the row after refusing to fast-track the players' legal action.

But the Canada Soccer Association (CSA), which is being sued for alleged sex discrimination along with football's governing body Fifa, says it is not prepared to enter into negotiations.

Addressing a media conference on the eve of the Canada 2015 draw, which takes place in Ottawa on Saturday, Valcke defended Fifa's right to stage tournaments on synthetic surfaces as a matter of "principle".

"We have decided at Fifa - and it's part of our statutes and regulations - that artificial pitches can be used as natural grass to make sure we can play football everywhere around the world. That's a principle," he said.

"When you're going into a country and the country is using artificial pitches, the executive committee can make the decision to authorise the use of artificial pitches.

"I can tell you for the 2019 World Cup... we have two candidates, France and South Korea. Both will use natural grass and that's it, there are no discussions.

"If anyone is saying the use of the artificial pitch is a question of discrimination, it's a nonsense."

For the BBC article click here.

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