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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Megan Feringa

Chelsea vs Liverpool decision branded "embarrassing" as match abandoned after 6 minutes

Hope Powell has branded the abandonment of Sunday's WSL clash between Chelsea and Liverpool "embarrassing" and condemned the decision not to call off the match before kick-off.

Sunday's league fixture between the reigning champions and the Reds descended into chaos less than 10 minutes after kick-off as referee Paul Howard stopped the match after concluding the frozen surface at the Kingsmeadow posed too dangerous a threat to player safety.

Players slipped precariously across the pitch throughout the opening exchanges, with Chelsea's Erin Cuthbert and Niamh Charles slamming hard onto the frozen surface on respective forays forward.

The decision to call off the match minutes into play has incurred mass umbrage from fans, coaches, players and pundits alike. Former England and Brighton boss Powell slammed the call to go ahead with the match despite concern from referees and raised concerns over how the decision reflects back on the women's game as a whole.

"It is very embarrassing, it is a shame for the travelling fans," Powell said while on punditry duty for the BBC. "They should have cancelled it before, the pitch was hard and I was dubious it would go ahead. But to start the game and then realise five minutes in it was dangerous to many players, is very embarrassing, it is not a good look."

Players from both sides walk off after the referee informs both managers the game is off (Getty Images)

The match was subject to a pitch inspection at 9:30am amid worries of a frozen surface but the decision was made to go ahead with the match, as blowers and pitch tents were used in attempt to hasten the defrosting process.

Yet, the efforts were ultimately in vain, and Powell has called into question why the WSL still is not privy to undersoil heating and other preventative measures that would stop the women's game from being at the mercy of extreme but unavoidable weather conditions.

"The consideration for undersoil heating is a must," Powell said. "They will have another slot to play this game. It makes it difficult when Chelsea play in the Champions League. If games are getting called off due to the weather, it will be an ongoing problem for the future."

The Chelsea match is the second in the WSL this weekend to fall victim to foul weather, with Tottenham 's home fixture at Brisbane Road against relegation-threatened Leicester on Sunday called off on Saturday due to a frozen pitch, marking the second time this season Spurs have had to abandon a match because of surface conditions.

Meanwhile, Everton's 1pm fixture against West Ham on Sunday was pushed back an hour in order to allow ample time for the pitch to thaw and avoid postponement, but Brighton's match against Arsenal on Sunday evening was called off.

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