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Outrage grows over FIFA Women's World Cup being held on turf

Some of the world's top players are fuming, as they may have to play on artificial grass at next year's women's World Cup finals in Canada
Female soccer players rally against use of artificial turf in World Cup 03:15

Some of soccer's top female players are upset they may have to play on artificial grass at next year's World Cup Finals in Canada. It will be the first tournament where turf is used instead of grass, CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.

For months, players have protested the decision by FIFA, arguing it would never allow synthetic fields at the men's World Cup. They say artificial turf prevents players from making those dramatic headers and slides, and can result in more injuries.

Now, 10 months from the FIFA Women's World Cup, they're threatening legal action.

Alex Morgan, forward on the U.S. Women's National Team, is one of the many star players to come out against FIFA's decision.

"The men's World Cup was given brand new stadiums, brand new venues around Brazil, and all we're asking is for a great surface to play on," Morgan said.

Star striker Abby Wambach, known for making dramatic plays, said turf will limit the action on the field and increase player injuries.

"About a year ago when we heard definitively that they were gonna be playing it on actual artificial surface, I kinda came out pretty vocally and said this is an outrage, this is a disgrace," Wombach said. "The game changes, the ball rolls faster, and it's less fun as an athlete. It should be grass stains, not blood."

Forward Sydney Leroux took a photo of her bruised knees and shins after playing a match on a turf field.

"It is a gender equality issue," Laroux said. "No chance men would ever play a World Cup on turf. I think the women are being treated as guinea pigs."

High-profile male athletes have weighed in, including Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. They both shared Syndey's photo along with messages like "protect our athletes"

Greco, Alexandria

Last month, attorneys representing players from a dozen countries sent a letter to FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association stating: "If your organizations will not engage in a meaningful dialogue on how to correct the discriminatory treatment of women players, we are prepared to pursue legal action which we are confident should succeed."

A FIFA spokesman confirmed they had received the letter but declined further comment.

Grant Wahl, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, shed light on FIFA's decision.

"Part of the reasoning was when Canada bid to host the women's world cup, there weren't any competitors for that bid," Wahl said. "And so this was not something stipulated when Canada won the tournament."

The men's World Cup will be played on grass again in 2018 and 2022. Wambach and her teammates say so no matter the outcome, they will take the field in Canada.

"The reality for me is it's a shame," Wambach said. "We have to actually have this fight."

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