Women’s Super League reports: Everton’s Izzy Christiansen calls for action after ‘dark weekend’

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Everton midfielder Izzy Christiansen has called for action to tackle the number of Women’s Super League games lost to bad weather after “a dark weekend” for women’s football.

Chelsea’s league game with Liverpool was halted after six minutes by match officials on Sunday due to a frozen pitch, while two other matches – Brighton v Arsenal and Tottenham v Leicester – fell victim to the freezing cold.

Christiansen said a long-term solution is needed to avoid a repeat of the “shocking” situation in Kingsmeadow and to maintain the momentum and integrity of the game, which has grown exponentially following the Lionesses’ European Championship success last summer, not to harm.

“Action needs to be taken, possibly an investigation into what really happened and why and how the FA and the clubs are moving forward to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future,” Christiansen said. Air sports.

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Chelsea and Liverpool’s WSL match was abandoned after just six minutes after an assessment found the ground unplayable and Sue Smith says it can’t happen again

“Without looking like a broken record, the weather at this time of year in England is cold so decisions need to be made for FA clubs to allow matches to go ahead because again let’s talk about scheduling on the women’s calendar and the backlog of games towards the end of the season – and that again adds up to a player welfare issue.

Match officials had declared the Kingsmeadow ground playable following a field inspection at 9.30am on Sunday morning, but six minutes into the game, referee Neil Hair abandoned the game due to an unsafe pitch.

Image:
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes leaves the field with match officials after the postponement

Images of Chelsea and Liverpool players slipping on the surface have been widely shared on social media, while a number of high-profile players, including Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert, have expressed their dismay at the situation.

FA field inspection guide

When it comes to things like frost or ice, remember that the highest temperature of the day is usually around noon. If needed, get a forecast of the expected temperature for the time the match comes to an end

– The labor available to the home club to carry out all work necessary to make the field playable

– The time when the visiting club should start their journey

– Liaising with managers to assess the thoughts of both clubs

Remember that the referees decide whether the match will be played.

For Christiansen, she believes female footballers have become accustomed to a lower level of care and well-being.

“Speaking of player welfare, when it comes to women’s football, we are used to dealing with a lot more problems than men’s football and the battles of our careers,” she said.

Chelsea v Liverpool WSL
Image:
Chelsea vs Liverpool had a field inspection at 9.30am where it was deemed playable

“Whether or not a match goes ahead is not a new thing for many players because of the weather or any other circumstance, I feel like it’s something we’re used to as players. , the uncertainty surrounding the matches.

“We’re talking about a really dark weekend in the WSL where a lack of clarity, a lack of decision-making has indicated where the game is now and that’s a really worrying situation for us as players. and also for the authorities that this has happened and that women’s football is now in the spotlight more than ever.”

Reading’s WSL clash was the only game not disrupted by the weather. Their game against Manchester United took place at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, a 24,000 seat ground they have since shared with the men’s side. 2021.

Meanwhile, Christiansen’s Everton had delayed their kick-off against West Ham by an hour to allow their ground at Walton Hall Park to thaw.

While Christiansen acknowledges there is no panacea for lost games due to bad weather, she wants more informed decisions to be made to prevent a recurrence of the situation. this weekend, following Chelsea manager Emma Hayes’ call for an underground hearing.

Everton's Izzy Christiansen
Image:
Everton’s Izzy Christiansen says action needs to be taken to prevent matches falling into bad weather on a regular basis

“You can’t change it overnight, it has to be a long-term solution. It can’t happen next season. What I think needs to happen now is a better grip. decision, more informed decisions, that not only protect the players, but also the game and its integrity, because a game canceled six minutes after it started really sets the game back in my opinion.

“The Arsenal-Brighton game was called off earlier and the Tottenham-Leicester game was called off about 24 hours in advance. I think that still happens in lower league men’s football. , so I think we have to be realistic here, there just aren’t enough stadiums with underfloor heating and higher specs to keep matches going regardless of the weather.

“We understand that women’s football is not there yet. But a game that starts and is abandoned after six minutes is a black day for women’s football.”

A spokesperson for the Women’s Super League said: “We have been working hard with the clubs and match officials to secure Barclay’s Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Liverpool as planned. Following pre-inspections of the match, the pitch was deemed playable at the day of the match.

“However, shortly after the kick-off, the referee made the decision to abandon the game to protect the safety of the players, which is of the utmost importance. We sincerely apologize to all fans who have returned to the game. The game will be postponed until a later date.”

Some Liverpool fans left at dawn to travel to London to return home after a frustrating day.

Christiansen believes fans deserve better, especially at a time when the game is growing and expanding its fan base. “If you look at the European Championship and the impact it has had on attendance, interest in the game and growth in the number of fans across the competition, those are all positives,” she said.

“Then we look at it, and off we go, the matches are postponed almost before kick-off. It’s not the first time this has happened this weekend, this season, it’s also about the lives of the people and not just the well-being of the players, but also the fans who spend their hard earned money on WSL tickets, travel , parking, food, it all adds up and we are not in a good economic situation in the country right now, we are talking about people’s lives being affected by bad decision making.

“We hope it will be the lowest in terms of bad decisions being made for games and player well-being.”

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