Spectators in the nosebleed seats at this year’s Women’s Soccer World Cup might not notice the field’s new surface, but the players will sure notice — it’s turf not grass. Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. is in the middle of a campaign to help save the sport’s traditional grass playing fields and convince FIFA to drop the turf.
The campaign launched by Scotts is called “Keep It Real” and has some of women’s soccer’s biggest stars lending their support to the cause. Back in January, U.S. national player Abby Wambach and teammates filed a lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association in an effort to get them to ditch the turf, but have since dropped the case. Wambach is still committed to the cause, though, and told ESPN that no player wants to play on turf instead of grass. The ball rolls faster, and players are less likely to attempt slides and tackles because the turf can cause blood blisters.
And Wambach and Scotts message is reaching FIFA. With Wambach having some 451,000 followers on Twitter, her message of #KeeptItReal generated hundreds of retweets, even getting a retweet of support from Columbus Crew SC’s ground crew.
Scotts Miracle-Gro offered to pay to have the field where next month’s tournament will be played, but FIFA declined, though FIFA officials have said they won’t be using turf in the future.