Edmonton stadium to get new turf to erase football lines for Women’s World Cup

Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium will get new artificial turf ahead of this summer’s Women’s World Cup soccer tournament. The $800,000 refit is the only way to get rid of the painted lines used for CFL games, said Kevin Kobi, the stadium’s director.

Kobi said even after the lines were erased, flecks of the paint remained stubbornly attached to the turf, leaving distracting ghost-like outlines that pop out on TV.

Kobi said soccer’s organizing body, FIFA, asked for the change after Kobi’s crew tried and failed with other methods to remove the residual paint.

The playing surface has been a controversial issue for tournament organizers after a group of elite women’s players launched a legal challenge with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, arguing that having the women play on artificial turf is discriminatory because the men’s World Cup is played on natural grass. The players recently withdrew the complaint.

The change at Commonwealth Stadium is not related to the turf protest.

Edmonton is one of six cities hosting the games from June 5 to July 6.

The $800,000 will be split between the city and the Canadian Soccer Association.