Liverpool’s women’s WSL match against Chelsea was cancelled due to a frozen pitch just six minutes after the start of the match, despite having passed a test earlier in the day.
The match was being played at Kingsmadow, the home stadium of Chelsea women’s club near London, and it looked like it might be canceled when an inspection of the pitch was carried out at 9:30 a.m. GMT, three hours before the start of the match.
Due to the cold weather, many matches were canceled in the UK this weekend, and on Sunday the temperature is expected to not exceed zero.
Nevertheless, despite the early check of the field and the idea of postponing the game to 14:00, the match took place at 12:30, as planned.
But after six minutes, the referee stopped the game, informing both teams that he was canceling the match because of the frozen pitch.
Some Liverpool fans went to the game at 5am today and now it will have to be rescheduled for a later date.
Emma Hayes’s announcement regarding the match pic.twitter.com/yiYtTT2U5T
— Emily Keogh (@emilyskeogh) January 22, 2023
A match called off minutes after it kicked off. Women’s football deserves better https://t.co/GUPuaFZOGh
— Roopa Vyas 🏴 (@LFC_RV) January 22, 2023
“I’m not sure why it took us six or seven minutes to find out he was frozen,” Liverpool women’s team manager Matt Bird told BBC Sport.
“He was frozen this morning, he was frozen during the warm-up.
“I’m just worried about our fans because they left at 5 a.m. this morning when it could have been postponed to 9:30 because the pitch was unsafe.
“Look at the temperature, today it was not going to rise above zero. It’s disappointing in every way, it wasn’t worth playing in the first place.”
Byrd also confirmed that the referee considered the pitch fit for play this morning, but changed his mind a few minutes after the start of the game.
“Whoever made the decision to launch the game, today it puts players at risk,” he added.
Chelsea women’s manager Emma Hayes also expressed alarm that the match was allowed and appealed to fans about the PA after it was interrupted.
Liverpool got off to a promising start with a few early opportunities against the league leaders, the team they beat at home on the opening day of the WSL season last year.