Women's World Cup: Artificial pitches 'affecting games'

Training at Women's World Cup
The Women's World Cup in Canada is the first senior Fifa competition to be played on synthetic surfaces
Women's World Cup on the BBC
Dates: 6 June - 5 July Coverage: Every match live on the BBC. All games online with selected matches on BBC Two, BBC Three and Red Button. Catch-up via BBC iPlayer. Every England game on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary of every England game via BBC Sport website.

Players and coaches at the Women's World Cup have raised concerns about the artificial pitches being used at venues in Canada.

USA striker Abby Wambach was among the 84 players who fought against the use of the turf before the World Cup began.

And speaking after her side's 0-0 draw with Sweden in Group D earlier this week, Wambach suggested the surface has hindered her in front of goal.

Germany keeper Nadine Angerer has also said the "dry" pitches are a concern.

"The pitches are getting hot and dry because of the sun," Angerer told BBC Sport. "They're watering the pitches but after five minutes it's gone.

Abby Wambach
Abby Wambach claimed it was harder to score on an artificial pitch because of the bounce of the ball

"It's hard to reach the balls as you never know how they will bounce. Both teams have the same problem, but of course it affects the game."

The tournament, which runs until 5 July, is the first-ever senior World Cup to be held by Fifa on artificial turf.

In October, a group of players from 13 different countries launched legal proceedings against the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and football's world governing body over the use of the pitches, although the case was later dropped.

Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke said at the time of the legal case: "This is not a question of money, or of differences between men's and women's events, but it is a matter of the natural conditions in Canada."

Artificial pitches: Pros & cons
Pros: Cost-effective. Artificial pitches keep in condition longer, and can be used for training and matches.
Cons: Fears over increased injuries and contrast in playing surfaces. For the World Cup, women believe they are being treated differently to men.
World Cup venues: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Moncton, Montreal.

USA head coach Jill Ellis said although she understands Wambach's concerns, she does not want it to become a lingering issue at the tournament.

"I can't speak for Abby but my perception is that the game is different on turf, but it's the same for everybody," said Ellis, whose side topped their group.

"Only she can attest to how different it feels. But, for me, we've just got to get it done.

"I'd love the surfaces to be wetter. They're very dry and I think we can make the surfaces play faster by putting water on them. I think every team would appreciate that."

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