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The Turf War Heats Up

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The Canadian Soccer Association and group of players may meet for mediation. No word on if FIFA will join.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Some might say the turf battle of the 2015 Women's World Cup took a step in the right direction Friday as it was announced the Canadian Soccer Association and a group of the players could attempt mediation to resolve the issue of playing on turf.

"I am far from certain that it would be possible to...render a decision on the merits within a few months.."

With time (or the lack thereof) being a huge factor, the players had previously requested an expedited hearing, a request that was denied Friday. The Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Jo-Anne Pickel refused the request on the grounds of the complexity of the case, writing "I am far from certain that it would be possible to...render a decision on the merits within a few months" in her decision. Each side has a week to confirm their desire to participate in mediation.

The CSA indicated Thursday, if it was decided natural grass fields were a must, it could withdraw as host of the 2015 Cup (in the highly unlikely event this occurs, one has to pause to wonder which country would host it), but also noted "the Tribunal should not make an order which would interfere with the ability of the CSA to follow through on its commitment to host the competition." The decision of using turf was based solely on the type of fields suitable and available for use, rather than on the gender of the players involved.

Meanwhile, 13 U.S. Senators have written to FIFA president Sepp Blatter and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati requesting they find a way for the competition to be played on grass.

FIFA contends grass fields would not be feasible and that the Canadian courts do not have jurisdiction since FIFA itself is based in Switzerland. So far there has been no word on if they will be joining in the mediation efforts.