Players and managers have voiced their anger after the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Liverpool was called off after just six minutes due to the pitch being frozen on Sunday.
The pitch had been inspected at 9:30 am on Sunday morning and the game kicked off at 12:30 pm despite visible patches of ice on the field.
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Both managers have voiced their disappointment in the decision with Chelsea boss Emma Hayes saying that the match “never should have started.”
“You could see from the opening minutes that it was like an ice rink down the sides,” Hayes told the BBC after the match was suspended.
“It’s not for managers to decide if it’s on — it’s up to the FA and officials. We have to say to ourselves that it’s time for undersoil heating. We’ve got to take our game seriously. Yes, we can have our blowers and pitch tents but it’s not enough.
“I understand; we have to put player safety first. We’ve made progress with investment into the quality of grasses and surfaces across the league. No game at the top level of the women’s game should be cancelled. We need undersoil heating — we don’t live in Barbados.”
Liverpool manager Matt Beard echoed the same sentiments saying to the BBC after the game: “They said about the players slipping on several occasions. Both players from both sides have slipped. Like I said before, the game should have never gone ahead.
“They were going to give it a chance, so that was the explanation. It wasn’t safe down there [the dugout side]. There were patches in the center and other areas. I guess where they had the heat [it thawed]but for the majority of the pitch that wasn’t the case.”
😂😂 on a serious note, one of the top leagues in Europe and we are canceling games because of frozen pitches. Not good enough, the women’s game is heading in the right direction but still a long way to go. https://t.co/I7Da1PqMl7
— Beth Mead (@bmeado9) January 22, 2023
Players across the league have also spoken out on social media following the match, demanding better conditions for the women’s game in England.
“On a serious note, one of the top leagues in Europe and we are canceling games because of frozen pitches. Not good enough, the women’s game is heading in the right direction but still a long way to go,” England and Arsenal forward Beth Mead said on Twitter.
Arsenal teammate Vivianne Miedema posted: “Players safety should always come first. Luckily no one got injured today. Only way to fix this is to demand underground heating or playing our games in men’s stadiums.”
Chelsea defender Kadeisha Buchanan called out the lack of respect for women footballers in England on her Instagram story.
“It’s mind blowing that there’s games/training being canceled because of frozen pitches throughout the league. Like bruv we play in a cold country. We should have heated pitches too. Where’s our ratings as women’s footballers? They honestly don’t rate us, she said.
Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert apologized to the fans after, saying on twitter: “So so sorry to all our fans who turned up today and braved the cold weather. This shouldn’t be happening and we will demand more for our game. Angry and frustrated but we will be ready for Wednesday.”
Chelsea and Liverpool are both set to play in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday, with Chelsea facing Tottenham and Liverpool taking on West Ham.