There’s a reason why many female players were upset with FIFA’s decision to use artificial turf during the World Cup in Canada — it gets freakin’ hot.
According to a Fox sideline reporter, the on-field temperature prior to the opening game between Canada and China was 120 degrees.
It's a brisk 120 degrees on the artificial turf at the Women's World Cup. The fact it's on turf is stupid. pic.twitter.com/AqnyvlwWjP
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) June 6, 2015
And it might have been even warmer if the temperature gauge had a larger range.
Actually, the air temperature in Edmonton — the site of the opening games — was a pleasant 75 degrees. But when plastic and rubber — the two core ingredients to artificial turf — sit under direct sunlight for several hours, it gets a tad bit toasty.
While players aren’t likely to burn themselves on the turf during normal gameplay, the radiating heat will ultimately take a toll on fitness at the tournament treks on.
The use of artificial turf was seen as gender discrimination since all six of the 2015 Women’s World Cup venues have artificial grass and the Men’s World Cup has never been played on an artificial surface.
Not only does it get unbearably hot, it also could lead to more injuries since there isn’t a lot of give in the artificial turf. Not sure if those players believed heat stroke could be one of them.
The United States was one of the most outspoken countries in criticizing the use of artificial turf leading up to the tournament. It even took the matter to court before withdrawing the complaint from the Ontario Human Right Tribunal when FIFA wouldn’t relent. FIFA’s only promise was that it wouldn’t use artificial turf for future women’s tournaments.
But that won’t help players this tournament. If the field can get up 120 degrees on a 75-degree day, who knows what it could be if the temperature climbs into the 80s? The radiant heat now becomes another opponent with whom players have to contend and the issues of heat fatigue could come into play during the latter stages of the tournament.