Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has today confirmed the opposition of Matildas players’ to the use of artificial turf for the 2015 Women’s World Cup and called on football’s universal rights to extend to women.

With all of the tournaments 52 games set to be played on artificial turf Matildas Captain and record goal scorer Kate Gill said the surface was not a suitable for the pinnacle of women’s football.

“The World Cup is the highest level of women’s football and the pitch should reflect this and also be of the highest possible standard, as they would be for the men’s tournament,” said Gill. “Having had to play on artificial turf on numerous occasions I can say it should only be utilised when it is absolutely necessary due to the environment. With this tournament being held in summer in Canada this is certainly not the case.”

FIFPro Vice President and FIFPro Asia Chairman Brendan Schwab confirmed that the world players’ association would continue to raise the players’ concerns with FIFA.

“At the highest levels of the game the best male and female footballers should clearly be entitled to the same working conditions and the same working environment,” said Schwab.

“Football prides itself on its universal values and we can not see any justification for the world’s best players not having access to the world’s best conditions at the highest levels of the game. Football should lead the world in the promotion of gender equity, however, this decision suggests this is not a priority and as a result football sadly lags behind sports such as tennis on this vital principle.”

“Additionally, the recent World Cup in Brazil highlighted the progress that football as a sport needs to make in relation to player health and safety. The priority for FIFA should be implementing further reform, such as in relation to concussion, rather then creating another possible workplace hazard.

PFA Chief Executive Adam Vivian echoed Schwab’s calls for gender equity.

“The PFA has been in close discussions with the Matildas playing group regarding the use of artificial turf at next year’s World Cup,” Vivian said. “If the women’s game is to achieve parity with the men’s it is vital female players have access to the best possible working conditions, with pitch quality a key component of this.

“The PFA is eager to work with Football Federation Australia (FFA) to ensure the players’ voice is heard and will continue to collaborate with FIFPro on the matter.”

With Australia one of 16 teams having qualified for the tournament Matildas forward Sam Kerr called on the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be shown the same respect as the men’s tournament.

“The surface totally changes the game and things as common place as slide tackling become much more dangerous on artificial turf,” Kerr said. “Because of this neither women nor men enjoy playing on it, especially when the climate allows for natural grass. We should be treated as equals to our male counterparts and artificial turf would never be used for the Men’s World Cup.”

Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond said the decision to allow the vast majority of the tournament to be played on artificial turf neglected the responsibility of providing the world’s best players with the best possible surface.

“Every player that makes it to the World Cup has worked tirelessly in the pursuit of their goal of making it to the top of the sport,” Van Egmond said. “Their efforts should be rewarded with the best possible facilities so they are able to showcase themselves to their best of their abilities. The use of artificial turf casts doubts over the players ability to perform at their best..”