LONDON (AP)A top-flight women’s match in England was abandoned after just six minutes on Sunday because the field was frozen, sparking complaints from managers and players that the league wasn’t being taken seriously enough.
There was a field inspection three hours before the scheduled kickoff between Chelsea and Liverpool in the Women’s Super League, before heaters were used in an attempt to make the surface playable.
The referee, after consulting with both managers, took the teams off shortly after the match began at Chelsea’s Kingsmeadow stadium ”in order to protect the safety of the players,” the league said in a statement.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said it was time for stadiums hosting games in women’s soccer to have undersoil heating like in the men’s game.
”We’ve got to take our game seriously,” Hayes told the BBC. ”Yes, we can have our blowers and little pitch tents, but it’s not going to be enough.”
The 12-team WSL is run by the English Football Association.
Later Sunday, Brighton announced that its match against Arsenal scheduled for the evening was postponed because the Broadfield Stadium ”was found to be frozen after an inspection this afternoon.” Tottenham’s home game against Leicester had also been postponed for the same reason.
Chelsea defender Kadeisha Buchanan posted on Instagram that it was ”mind boggling that there’s games/trainings being cancelled because of frozen pitches throughout the league… We should have heated pitches too.”
Buchanan’s teammate, Erin Cuthbert, added on Twitter: ”This shouldn’t be happening and we will demand more for our game.”
Arsenal and England forward Beth Mead described the situation ”not good enough,” saying on Twitter: ”The women’s game is heading in the right direction but still a long way to go.”
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