Arsenal Women v Brighton and other WSL match postponements ‘unprofessional’ by Michelle
Chelsea Women v Liverpool was postponed only 6 minutes into the match at Kingsmeadow on Sunday 22nd January. Tottenham v Leicester was scheduled to take place at Brisbane Road on Sunday too but Spurs postponed the match the previous evening due to a frozen pitch – at least giving fans prior notification before travelling. Brighton v Arsenal was set to kick-off at 6.45PM UK on Sunday but Arsenal announced the postponement after 5pm, therefore fans had travelled to Crawley for the fixture.
Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema, currently out with an ACL injury alongside teammate and partner Beth Mead, tweeted yesterday:
CHE – LIV… 🤦🏼♀️ and (TOT – LEI) #WSL
Players safety should always come first. Luckily no one got injured today.
Only way to fix this is to demand undersoil heating or playing our games in men’s stadiums.
FA and clubs, please do better. 🙏🏽
— Vivianne Miedema (@VivianneMiedema) January 22, 2023
I think Miedema covers the whole subject perfectly, the FA and clubs really need to do better. Undersoil heating is standard in the Premier League and with interest in women’s football taking off at an exponential rate it really is unprofessional to expect professional female football players to play on frozen pitches and it must be infuriating for fans who have planned, paid and travelled to these fixtures just to be told that the match is called off due to pitch conditions. Not to mention it’s impact on the WSL leader board with Manchester United Women now sitting in 1st place, all down to the fact that their game against Reading went ahead whilst the Arsenal and Chelsea games were postponed..
Sky Sports pundit Sue Smith, speaking on Monday morning’s Football Show on Sky Sports News said of the Chelsea v Liverpool match: I can’t actually believe what happened in terms of the game starting and then being stopped as the pitch was unplayable.
The staff, the managers, the players warming up could all see that it was frozen. And you have to think of player safety.
When the goalkeeper is asking for extra padding as when she’s diving, the ground is rock hard, the players were slipping all over the place, for it to go ahead for six or seven minutes and then to cancel it, I’m concerned it was allowed to happen.
It looked really unprofessional, so whoever made that decision, that can’t happen again.
Chelsea Manager Emma Hayes told the BBC We’ve got to take our game seriously. Yes, we can have our blowers and little pitch tents, but it’s not going to be enough.
The WSL is a top 3 league in the world. Surely this is unacceptable and the players deserve to be playing in suitable grounds?
So how do we make the women’s pitches as usable as the men’s in all weathers? Can clubs afford to go to the expense of upgrading to undersoil heating? Should we ‘abandon’ women’s football in the winter months?! Surely there has got to be a solution as we face many more cold spells through winter?
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts Gooners..
By Michelle Maxwell
WATCH – Arsenal Women boss’ Jonas Eidevall’s Full Press conference ahead of Brighton game….
AND To Watch Mikel Arteta’s pre- Man United press conference (talking about new signing Leandro Trossard) go to our YouTube Channel – JustArsenalVids
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