Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Turf War of Words Bogged Down in Semantics: FIFA Willing to Talk but on Its Terms

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Turf War of Words Bogged Down in Semantics: FIFA Willing to Talk but on Its Terms

Article excerpt

Turf war of words bogged down in semantics

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TORONTO - The war over words over artificial turf at the Women's World Cup has become bogged down in semantics ahead of Saturday's draw in Ottawa.

And that is frustrating the legal team representing a rebel faction of players as it tries to chip away at the monolithic world governing body of soccer.

While a legal challenge snakes it way through the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, lawyers for the players have gone down a number of avenues to keep their storyline front and centre.

Jerome Valcke, FIFA's secretary-general, seemingly opened up a new path in an Oct. 29 fifa.com article when he said: "We will again welcome open dialogue at the official draw on Dec. 6 in Ottawa."

But with no players expected to be present at the draw other than Canadian captain Christine Sinclair, it appears that dialogue looks to be very limited.

Most players outside North America are in season with their clubs while the U.S., China and Brazil are in Brazil for a tournament. And Sinclair, like the other Canadian players who answer to the host Canadian Soccer Association, has been deliberately kept out of the fray.

Hampton Dellinger, the lead lawyer for the women, jumped on Valcke's "open dialogue" comment and invited the FIFA executive to participate in a conference call around the draft with American Abby Wambach, Germany's Nadine Angerer, Spain's Veronica Boquete, and Brazil's Marta.

Valcke declined the offer, telling Dellinger he was unable to meet during the time requested. But he said team representatives and FIFA officials would meet at the draw.

"FIFA welcomes continued dialogue with players through the competent bodies within FIFA, including the Committee for Women's Football and the FIFA Women's World Cup, wherein female player's interests are duly represented," he said in his response.

Valcke will be at the draw and, according to the Oct. 29 article, is willing to talk -- thought it seems on his terms.

"Dialogue with the participating teams and, naturally, the players is very important to us and we keep open channels of communication with all parties before, during and after the event ... I, personally, will attend (the draw) alongside our pitch expert and medical teams, and I am sure that in this way we will be able to address all concerns and doubts so that all of the participating teams can focus on their preparation for the biggest event in women's football," he was quoted in the Oct. 29 article.

A FIFA spokesperson reiterated that via email. …

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