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03 March 2024

Chelsea boss calls for undersoil heating after WSL freeze-out

By Reuters

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes called for undersoil heating to be installed at all Women's Super League grounds after her side's home game against Liverpool was abandoned after just a few minutes due to an icy pitch.
After efforts to thaw it out using heaters, the pitch was deemed playable by officials but it quickly became apparent that players were struggling to maintain their balance, leading the game to be called off.
"The game should never have started," Hayes told the BBC.
"We have to say to ourselves that it's time for undersoil heating. We've got to take our game seriously -- yes, we can have our blowers and pitch tents, but it's not enough."
Former England manager Hope Powell, who stepped down as coach of WSL side Brighton & Hove Albion last October, was equally critical.
"They should have cancelled it before. The pitch was hard and it was a bit dubious whether it would go ahead or not. But to actually start the game and then five minutes into it realise it was dangerous, too many players slipping, I think is very embarrassing," she said.
"It is not a good look and it's a shame for everybody here today ... this is a worst case scenario. It's embarrassing for the league, for the players and everybody involved."
Chelsea's was not the only game affected by the freezing temperatures in England on Sunday - Arsenal's trip to Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur's home game against Leicester City were also postponed.