By CAITLIN MURRAY
They have been threatening to sue for weeks, but now they say a lawsuit is around the corner.
The Abby Wambach-led group of players that is accusing FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association of gender discrimination has called for the 2015 Women’s World Cup organizers to negotiate by Friday or face litigation.
“As you know, discussion of the 2015 women’s World Cup is an early item on the agenda for FIFA’s Executive Committee meeting this week,” said the letter issued by attorneys Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, which requested a response by noon Friday.
“Thus, it seems timely to provide final notice that an international coalition of leading players will initiate legal action against your organizations unless you agree immediately to discussions with us on ways to fix the unacceptable playing conditions proposed for FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.”
Attorney Hampton Dellinger said a lawyer from CSA had responded on Thursday, but had not indicated CSA was open to installing grass at the tournament venues. A lawsuit “will be initiated in coming days,” Dellinger added. (A draft of the lawsuit the group plans to file can be viewed here.)
The renewed threat of litigation comes as FIFA will be conducting site visits starting next week to inspect each of the six Women’s World Cup venues.
The possibility of a lawsuit has been on the table since early August, when the legal counsel for the players group sent an initial letter to CSA and FIFA demanding the tournament be played on natural grass, as all senior men’s World Cups have. Players in the group also includes Alex Morgan, Heather O’Reilly, Nadine Angerer and others.
Players have said that FIFA or CSA had not responded to their initial letter, even as both organizations have defended the use of turf to the press. FIFA President Sepp Blatter has called FIFA-approved turf the future of the sport while CSA President Victor Montagliani called the charge of gender discrimination “misinformation.”
What do you think of this latest threat? Should the group of players pull the trigger and sue? Will continued threats have any impact?
Share your thoughts below.