WSL players have called for higher standards in the women's game after Chelsea's WSL clash with Liverpool was postponed six minutes into the game as the Kingsmeadow pitch was not deemed safe to play on.
Despite minus temperatures overnight, the game was given the go ahead following a pitch inspection at 9:30am.
The game kicked off at 12:30pm as planned despite players raising concerns over the condition of the pitch following the warms ups. Several players slipped inside the opening six minutes, and Emma Hayes and Matt Beard both stated that the decision to ultimately call the game off was the right one.
"It's mind boggling that there's games/trainings being cancelled because of frozen pitches," Chelsea defender Kadeisha Buchanan posted on her Instagram story. "Like bruv we play in a cold country. We should have heated pitches too. Where's our ratings as women's footballers? Like they honestly don't rate us. Saddddddd."
"It is unacceptable for a game at this level to be called off in the manner in which it was," Liverpool's Megan Campbell wrote on Twitter. "For the safety of everyone, teams & fans, it needs to improve!!"
"Who needs 90mins when you can get it all in 8’," Chelsea's Zecira Musovic wrote on Twitter. "End to end action, some ice skating in the middle from Niamh, ref calling the two skippers for a serious chat and the other coach going crazy for it being too dangerous. NO that was a major joke, unacceptable. Do better."
The match is the second WSL fixture to fall foul to the conditions this weekend, after Tottenham's clash with Leicester at Brisbane Road was postponed on Saturday evening. Earlier this season, Tottenham against Everton had been called off on the morning of the fixture due to a waterlogged pitch, resulting in Everton players criticising the WSL's professionalism.
Covers were put over the Kingsmeadow pitch and ground staff used rakes and leaf blowers to clear away ice in the build up to kick off on Sunday, but Hayes labelled the pitch 'unplayable'. The Chelsea boss later called for undersoil heating to be brought into the game to avoid repeat situations.
"The next step is under soil heating," Hayes told BBC Two. "No women’s game at this top-level should be cancelled…we need it everywhere. We don’t live in Barbados!”
"Players safety should always come first. Luckily no one got injured today," Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema wrote on Twitter. "Only way to fix this is to demand undersoil heating or playing our games in men’s stadiums. FA and clubs, please do better"
"Viv on point here," added Aston Villa captain Rachel Corsie. "Want to add “men’s stadium” are actually “club stadiums”. Yet we make them exclusive for the men for the most part."
"One of the top leagues in Europe and we are cancelling games cause of frozen pitches," Arsenal's Beth Mead wrote on Twitter. "Not good enough, the women’s game is heading in the right direction but still a long way to go."
"We worked hard with the clubs and the match officials to safely play the Barclay's Women's Super League fixture between Chelsea and Liverpool as scheduled," a statement from a WSL spokesperson read. "Following inspections before the match, the pitch was deemed to be playable by the matchday referee.
"However, shortly after kick off, the referee made the decision to abandon the match in order to protect the safety of the players, which is paramount. We sincerely apologise to all fans who travelled to the match. The fixture will be rescheduled in due course."