Kobe Bryant is against using artificial turf in next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup


Kobe Bryant playing in the 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Kobe Bryant, NBA star and the world’s biggest soccer fan, took a side in the FIFA Women’s World Cup artificial turf debate — he’s against the fake stuff.

It should be noted the player’s legs pictured above belong to Sydney Leroux, a spokesperson for BodyArmor SuperDrink, the sports beverage in which Bryant has invested. Leroux, along with her Team USA teammate Abby Wambach and roughly 40 other athletes, recently retained legal counsel to send a letter to FIFA and Canada Soccer (next year’s women’s World Cup is being held in Canada) complaining about the organizations’ plans to use artificial turf instead of real grass in all World Cup stadiums.

In a copy of their letter attained by the Washington Post from their representatives Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, the turf is referred to as a “second class surface” and its use is alleged to be “gender discrimination that violates European charters and numerous provisions of Canadian law, including human rights codes and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Their letter has gone unanswered. FIFA officials have been proponents of the artificial turf, noting as long as the turf meets the requirements laid out in the 103-page document “The FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf,” it is fit for use.

If the 2015 Women’s World Cup ends up being played on artificial turf, it will be the first of FIFA’s World Cup events to be entirely without real grass. This year’s men’s World Cup was played entirely on natural surfaces.

(H/t: USA Today)

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne · August 14