The FIFA statutes are not, strictly speaking, fascinating reading. The characters are bland, the plot makes no sense, and there's too much sex and violence. But when you read about someone wanting to take FIFA to court - to pick an example entirely at random, members of the US women's national team - there are some chapters and verses it would be handy to keep in mind. Among them:
13.1(i). Members have the following obligations....to manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties.(...)
13.2. Violation of the above-mentioned obligations by any Member may lead to sanctions provided for in these Statutes.
13.3. Violations of par. 1 (i) may also lead to sanctions even if the third-party influence was not the fault of the Member concerned.
17.1. Each Member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.
68.2. Recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations. Recourse to ordinary courts of law for all types of provisional measures is prohibited.
Seeing a trend? FIFA, like any other church, cannot afford to recognize any other, higher authority. Thou shalt not sue thy federation.
The reason FIFA can blow off court dates, but I still have to pay my income tax, is because FIFA operates beyond human law. If corporations are people, then FIFA is Skynet. There are too many soccer fans, and too much money to be made, for any one country to stand against FIFA declaring themselves sovereign.
Well, if you had literally unlimited funds and an entire world to run to, then yeah, you could declare your independence from Uncle Sam, or any other annoying relative, with absolute impunity. (FIFA might have to heel for Uncle European Union some day, but that day is not happening soon.)
The upshot of all this is, when you have your lawyer threatening to sue FIFA, the force of wind in which you are spitting is well into hurricane strength. Here is an example of what's not going to intimidate FIFA:
Why Equal Fields are Legally Required
Should you refuse to voluntarily fix the field situation, legal recourse is available and will be utilized. Consigning women to a second-class surface is gender discrimination that violates European charters and numerous provisions of Canadian law, including human rights codes and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. By singling out women for differential and unequal treatment, you not only subject the world’s top players to heightened risk from an array of turf-related injuries, but you also force them to experience the legally cognizable indignity of playing the game’s most important event on what your organizations admit to be an inferior surface. Moreover, artificial turf is wholly unjustified as a financial imperative. The installation of natural grass would cost but a fraction of your organizations’ budgets thus defeating any defense of undue hardship.
If you are willing to join us in a good faith dialogue, please respond by letter, email, or phone call to me or to any of the attorneys listed below. We ask that you contact us by or before Monday, August 4th.
The attentive reader will note that it is currently after August 4th. Legal threats mean as much to FIFA as online petitions...which was also tried, naturally.
So, according to the New York Times, the players will step up their efforts. Abby Wambach is raising the stakes.
“It’s a gender issue through and through,” Wambach said, pointing out that a top men’s competition like the World Cup or the Champions League final has never been played on it.
“This being the pinnacle of our sport,” Wambach added, “We feel like we should be treated just like the men.”
Noted civil rights warrior Abby Wambach is of course the absolute perfect person to place herself at the forefront of this issue. When the late Dan Borislow was accused of sexist behavior towards Wambach's teammates, Wambach immediately and forcefully responded - in defense of Borislow. When her home state's reactionaries worked to prevent her from marrying the partner of her choice, Wambach's silence was a role model for Trappist monks everywhere.
But when it comes to playing on artificial turf, that's where Abby Wambach will do whatever it takes.
Sorry - I mean, when it comes to playing on artificial turf for the national team. It's okay when it's her club. But she will do whatever it takes to avoid playing on turf in a tournament.
Well, short of actually not playing in the the tournament.
Yet the group of players, led by Wambach, isn’t taking no for an answer.
The players aren’t threatening to boycott the World Cup if the issue isn’t remedied, said Hampton Dellinger, one of their lawyers. But he stressed that they would keep pushing the issue if FIFA and organizers continue to ignore them.
In other words, they are taking "no" for an answer.
About the only way this campaign could possibly reek of hypocrisy any worse is if it would be to draft as a spokesman one of the most famous rapists and snitches in the history of
Kobe Bryant, feminist. Jesus wept.
It was the helpful addition of the sponsor's handle that convinced me of his sincerity. Maybe Sydney wouldn't have skinned her legs so bad if it was anything like actual body armor?
What's most frustrating about this discussion, and what makes an already two-faced and insulting campaign look even more incompetent, is that Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow is currently graced with FieldTurf. Literally all Wambach, or her lawyers, would have to do is ask whether that turf will be replaced in 2018. If yes, then the players' case is made. If not, then the claim of inequality fails.
I've asked FIFA. I'll let you know if they respond to me. I can't tell you why no one else has asked, though.