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Women's Super League

Chelsea vs Liverpool called off after six minutes! WSL clash postponed due to frozen pitch as Hayes claims game should 'never' had started

8:28 AM EST 1/22/23
Chelsea Liverpool WSL 2022-23
The Women's Super League match between Chelsea and Liverpool was abandoned after just six minutes over concerns for the players' safety.
  • Chelsea's game against Liverpool abandoned
  • Pitches frozen and heavy mist
  • Decision to start match heavily criticised

WHAT HAPPENED? Temperatures at Kingsmeadow on Sunday barely crept above a couple of degrees, with the playing surface visibly hard when the teams were out warming up. The game went ahead despite there also being severe visibility issues due to heavy mist, but it didn't last long before it was called off.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The six minutes between the first and last whistle still posed a threat to players' safety, though, with Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert in visible discomfort after going in for a slide tackle. Full-back Niamh Charles also slipped several times. For this reason, the decision to continue the game has been heavily criticised by both managers, while there have been calls from leading figures around women's football for the introduction of under soil heating.

WHAT THEY SAID?: "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," wrote Arsenal star Beth Mead on Twitter regarding the state of pitches up and down the country.

When asked whether the game should have gone ahead, Blues boss Emma Hayes told BBC: "Never! You could see from the opening minutes it was like an ice rink down the side. I’m upset it even got to this stage, but it’s for the FA and officials to determine whether it’s on. We’ve got to take our game seriously, we can have blowers on the pitch but it’s not enough. There’s no FA here."

“I don’t know why you had to play six or seven minutes to see it was frozen," added Liverpool manager Matt Beard. "It was frozen this morning, frozen in the warmup. I’m just gutted for our fans who got up at 5 o’clock this morning to be here. We said we were unhappy to play on it and the ref said it was alright. “Whoever made the decision for the game to be on, it’s put players at risk today."

After the game, Cuthbert added: "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."


WHAT NEXT? With Saturday's match between Chelsea and Liverpool abandoned, a decision will have to be made regarding the rearranged fixture, as well as more serious conversations about postponing games well ahead of time.