Tokyo Olympics: Players slam IOC over scheduling of women's football gold medal match

Sweden Canada

The International Olympic Committee has come under scrutiny over the scheduling of the women’s football tournament gold medal match.

Sweden and Canada will face each other on Friday in the final but concerns were raised over the original kick-off time.

After requests from both teams, the match has since been delayed and will now take place at 21:00 local time (1:00 BST) due to the intense Tokyo heat posing a threat to the players’ welfare.

The gold medal match was due to get underway at 11:00 local time (3:00 BST), but with temperatures expected to reach highs of 32 degrees in the Japanese capital, players and staff have aired their reluctance to play in such conditions.

Complaints have already been made over the scheduling of the men’s decathlon 100m on Tuesday. The event took place in 32-degree heat, but temperatures felt as high as 47 degrees due to the humidity.

Reports have claimed this time slot was selected due to the assumption the USA would reach the final. The original kick-off adhered with prime time television slots in the US so broadcasters were keen to get as many eyes on the fixture as possible.

However, Team USA suffered a shock defeat to Canada, who knocked their North American rivals out of the tournament in the semi-finals.

This led some to criticise the IOC for the initial scheduling time. Swedish goalkeeper Zećira Mušović tweeted: “To even consider playing a final at 11:00 local time in Japan is a direct danger to the players’ health due to extreme weather conditions. Once again money talks way too much in a discussion that should not be a discussion.”

Others have questioned the motive behind the IOC seemingly being unable to previously move the kick-off time.

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