Commonwealth Stadium to get new turf to erase stubborn football lines for World Cup

Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium
Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium seats just over 60,000 people. City of Edmonton

EDMONTON — 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 football, 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.

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READ MORE: Players file lawsuit in Canada over artificial Women’s World Cup turf

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.