Chelsea’s WSL clash with Liverpool is called off after just SIX MINUTES due to a frozen pitch – despite the game passing an inspection just two-and-a-half hours before kick-off – as Emma Hayes slams ‘ice rink’ conditions
- The pitch was deemed playable at 9:30 in the morning, hours before kick off
- Hayes spoke to frustrated supporters to say the call was ‘right for the players’
- The decision followed several other postponements due to severe conditions
Chelsea versus Liverpool was called off after just six minutes of play in the Women’s Super League after the surface was deemed unplayable.
There was a pitch inspection at 9:30 this morning ahead of the game at Kingsmeadow, with ice cleared off the pitch just minutes before kick off.
But just as the game got underway, referee Ben Hair stopped play and postponed the match, which resulted in anger from the players and fans and Chelsea manager Emma Hayes speaking to supporters in the ground.
Chelsea’s game against Liverpool in the Women’s Super League was postponed after just six minutes of play
The conditions of the pitch were deemed unsafe despite a pitch inspection earlier in the day
Ground staff were seen trying to warm the pitch at Kingsmeadow as players warmed up
Fans were forced to wait over half an hour for the result of the inspection, with many left frustrated, particularly away fans who had travelled to the capital from Merseyside.
There was doubt when confirmation arrived that game would still kick off at 12:30, and the referee paused proceedings and spoke to both Hayes and Liverpool boss Matt Beard soon after kick off.
Liverpool players then left the pitch before it was confirmed the game would be called off, which resulted in boos from the stands as the Reds players returned to show their appreciation to the travelling supporters.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes spoke to supporters after the game was called off on Sunday
Referee Ben Hair (centre) deemed the pitch playable before calling off the game almost immediately after kick off
Hayes, speaking to the fans, said: ‘The decision to call it off at this moment is wrong for the timing but right for the players.’
She then told BBC Sport: ‘You could see it’s like an ice rink. It’s not for mangers to determine it. We have to have undersoil heating to take our game seriously.
‘The game should never have started. Everybody wants to get the game on but outside parties have to execute those decisions. The FA are not here. No game should be cancelled – we need undersoil heating.’
Liverpool manager Matt Beard slammed the decision, saying the game ‘shouldn’t have been played in the first place’
Beard added: ‘I don’t know why it took six minutes for us to find out it was frozen, it was frozen this morning. You can clearly see.
‘I’m gutted for our fans. They’ve set off at five o’clock this morning to come down when it could have been postponed at 9:30 because the pitch wasn’t safe.
‘It wasn’t going to get above zero today. It shouldn’t have been played in the first place. The referee said it was alright.’
Arsenal and England star Beth Mead tweeted: ‘On a serious note, one of the top leagues in Europe and we are cancelling games cause of frozen pitches. Not good enough, the women’s game is heading in the right direction but still a long way to go.’
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