What's an international competition without controversy? The latest dose comes via the Women's World Cup, where the game's brightest stars are protesting the playing of the tournament on artificial turf.

For the first time, the Women's World Cup is set to be played entirely on artificial turf when play kicks off next summer in Canada. For a game that was founded on grass, this of course changes the way it is played, as balls move faster and bounce higher. However, for the stars like the United State's Abby Wambach, the issue is much greater.

Not only is it a health and safety issue, but Wambach and her fellow players see it as an equality issue, noting that the men's tournament in Brazil was recently played entirely on grass.

“It’s a gender issue through and through,” Wambach told the New York Times. “This being the pinnacle of our sport, we feel like we should be treated just like the men.”

Equality issues aside, the artificial turf raises many footwear questions, as well. What type of shoes will the players wear on the field should it be played on artificial turf? In the lead up to the tournament, will Nike and adidas release cleats specialized for play on turf or will they stay with the traditional grass cleats?

Should Wambach and her fellow players have their way, we won't have to worry about these issues. But with the World Cup just a year away, it's something to ponder. Let us know how you think the World Cup will be affected by artificial turf.

[New York Times]

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