Women's Sport: Does this weekend prove pitches in the WSL are not up to scratch?

Liverpool FC Women v Durham Women - FA Women's Continental League Cup

It’s a question that continues to plague the Women’s Super League competition, especially following this weekend’s postponement of matches at Liverpool’s Prenton Park and Tottenham’s The Hive.

This was the second postponed match at Prenton Park after Liverpool’s clash against Manchester United was also called off after the pitch was deemed unplayable. Since this, the men’s side at Tranmere Rovers has played four home games in 12 days.

In response to the second cancellation of a Liverpool home match, the club chairman Peter Moore released a statement explaining the club would “explore all options” to address what is a continuing issue with the quality of the pitch at Prenton Park.

Moore revealed he and the club were committed to ensuring a solution could be found to maintain the quality of the pitch Liverpool’s women share with Tranmere Rovers.

“We know how frustrating this is for supporters as well as the players and staff of both clubs who have put in a hard week of preparation for the game.

“I speak regularly with Mark Palios at Tranmere and we had a solid pitch on Saturday but overnight rain saw it deteriorate despite the best efforts of all the hard-working grounds staff at Tranmere acting in conjunction with our own grounds team,” Moore said.

A recurring problem for Liverpool

Tranmere Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

Peter Moore highlighted that the issue of pitch quality was not a problem unique to his Liverpool side and assured his fans he would be working to resolve the issue.

“While these problems are not unique to us – with other Women's Super League games called off both on Sunday and earlier this season – we need to try to find a solution to provide our LFC Women with the surface they deserve,” he added.

However, it seems Liverpool are one team for which pitches remain a particular problem. Earlier on in the WSL season, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes hit out at the pitch at Prenton Park as a ‘stain on the football club’.

Fans left disappointed and expecting more

The postponement of two matches this weekend once again brings to the fore the question of whether enough is being done to improve the infrastructure available to women's teams in the WSL.

Many fans were left disappointed by the late announcement of the postponed matches and took to Twitter to express their disappointment at the mismatched levels of support women's teams received from their clubs.

All eyes will be on Liverpool management and how they handle the deterioration of the quality of the pitch as the season progresses. In reality, the women's side will need a reassessment of whether sharing Tranmere Rover's home stadium at Prenton Park can be a sustainable option in future seasons.

If pitches like these continue to be used women's football in the UK risks being left behind. Furthermore, the progress that has already been made in the game in recent years could be held back by a serious lack of standard in pitches.

Without club investment in facilities and infrastructure and a tangible commitment to improving the game as a whole women's football and the WSL will be unable to make the strides fans and players are expecting.

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