Top division Women's football match played on miniature sized pitch
Football is a fun sport to play because of the freedom it gives players to display their full range of skills. That freedom is a direct consequence of the size of a pitch and it’s proportional ratio to the number of players.
For a 5-a-side tournament, the pitches are obviously smaller, which is suitable for the type of gameplay for 10 players. But when you put 22 players on a pitch that can’t really accommodate that many it is no more a football match but a competition for room to move about.
That is exactly what happened in a game between two NSWL sides Western New York Flash & Seattle Reign when they met during a league match at the home of the Flash. Their home stadium Rhinos’ was unavailable for use and they shifted the match to Frontier Field.
The Frontier Field is a baseball stadium and they divided up the pitch so that a part of it could be used for the game. The home side managed to win the game 3-2 but it wasn’t the most enjoyable victory for them either.
Seattle manager upset over misinformation about pitch size
The manager of the Seattle team Laura Harvey was not pleased, to say the least with the organisation of the match. She was apparently informed that the pitch they would be playing on would only be slightly smaller to a regulation sized ground.
But it was much worse that what was expected. She spoke after the game was over.
“The result and outcome are secondary to what impact this will have on our sport, who claimed the pitch was 110 yards long but only 58 wide. Tonight became a farce that can never happen again.” said the former manager of Arsenal Ladies football club.
To give you a comparison, FIFA’s minimum standard for a pitch dimension is 110 yards long and 70 yards wide. So while the length might have been acceptable the width was well below standards expected in a top division football match.
Harvey also claimed the NSWL had agreed to call the game off if the pitch was not upto standard several hours before kickoff but then reversed their stance. The NSWL accepted that they had committed a mistake on their part after the match
“Due to various factors, the league office made the decision to grant an exception for this evening's match. In retrospect, we made the wrong decision.As a professional league, we need to ensure the integrity of the game is always respected, both on and off the field. We did not do that tonight and we apologise to the NWSL players, coaches and fans.”