As the multi-national protests against turf in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup becomes more vocal, a clear indication has been given that the Matildas will not be lending their voice.

At least not publicly.

In a wide ranging interview with ABC Grandstand's Amanda Shalala, Football Federation Australia's Head of Women's Football Emma Highwood articulated the FFA's position for the first time.

"We are supportive of Canada and we are looking forward to the World Cup" said Highwood.

"Certainly we don't have an issue with it being played on artificial turf."

Turf Protest Timeline

In 2012 it was announced that five of the six Canadian venues for the 2015 Women's World Cup would have artificial turf.

While there had been disgruntled murmurings about playing on turf, vocal opposition truly commenced in early 2013 when it was publicised that BC Place would host the final.

Since then discontent had been intermittent until early August 2014 when The Equalizer reported a group of international players had mobilised and retained legal representation to push for a change from artificial turf to natural grass.

Sent on 28 July 2014 to FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association, with Moya Dodd copied in her capacity as Head of the Women's Football Taskforce, the letter outlines the potential for legal action citing gender discrimination.

FIFA and the CSA have acknowledged receipt however both organisations have remained tight lipped when further questioned.

Following that letter, protests have now become much more public with mainstream media, including Grant Wahl at Sports Illustrated, the New York Times and Time magazine, reporting on it and sports stars and Hollywood stars alike lending it further publicity.

Australia to continue World Cup preparations

While the turf collation consists of players from the United States, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan and Brazil, Australian voices have been noticeably silent.

This despite the fact that national team as whole were referenced in the letter stating "...the entire Australian women’s national team voiced its opposition to your plan."

Although it must be noted The Women's Game have not found any on the record statements to that effect.

[More: FFA receipent of FIFA Goal Project funding]

In her ABC Grandstand interview Highwood gave the clearest indication yet that Australia will not become involved in the turf protests, even though former captain Melissa Barbieri, Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord are signatories to an online petition.

"The petition that has been going around has been around for a couple of years."

"Some of those players actually put their name to that petition probably about 2 years ago, so I think things have shifted since then."

Highwood did concede that some players have "specific issues and feel that the ground can cause potential injuries" but did not elaborate on whether these were national team players.

Sam Kerr tweets about turf burn [Warning: blood involved]

When asked if there has been any complaints she confirmed "certainly not with FFA".

Australian players aren't the only one to avoid comment on the issue with Canadian players understandably absent in the conversation considering it is their governing body hosting the tournament and at the centre of the protests.

[More: Update on Matildas coaching search]

With the turf battle set to take place further beyond Australia's shores, the FFA have turned their attention to preparing the Matildas for the World Cup.

"We feel that we have a good chance of going far so we are not going to distract ourselves by turf issue."

"We are going to focus on actually preparing for the World Cup."

Preparation will include playing on turf fields during the W-League season and at the Australian Institute of Sport, the Matildas central training base.

It is anticipated that international friendlies will also be on the surface but that will have to wait until 2015 when the new coach is on board.


It appears that not all Australian players will be silent on the turf issue.