World football governing body FIFA is confident that the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada will go off without a hitch despite the tournament being played on artificial turf for the first time. A FIFA delegation Saturday concluded a week-long tour of Canada during which they inspected four of the six stadiums being used for the seventh women’s World Cup – two of the venues are still under construction, reported Xinghu.
Mustapha Fahmy, FIFA’s director of competitions, said they were satisfied with the preparations. “(Men’s) World Cup qualifiers are played on artificial turf, so I think it’s not a real problem,” said the Egyptian, a former general secretary of the Confederation of African Football.
He noted that a condition for Canada hosting the tournament was for the venues to have FIFA 2-star-approved turf. Montreal, Moncton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver will act as host cities for the 52-game tournament starting June 6, 2015. Vancouver’s British Columbia Place will host the final July 5.
“FIFA didn’t move (away from natural grass), but as you know there are some cultural aspects in each host country and FIFA has to comply and understand the facilities in each host country,” Fahmy said. “We have discussed between the FIFA executive committee and the FIFA medical committee, and they are of the opinion that there is no real danger or any problem for that (artificial turf) on the condition that all the training fields and all fields for the competition will be of the same standard.”
With the Canadian Soccer Association targeting a record 1.6 million spectators for the competition, the fans will be treated to the largest Women’s World Cup yet with 24 teams participating, up from 16 in 2011 when Japan shocked the Americans in the final in Germany.