Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes said it is time for stadiums hosting top-level women's football to have undersoil heating after her side's game with Liverpool was suspended after just six minutes on Sunday.

Despite pitch inspections at Kingsmeadow earlier in the day that deemed the surface playable, the referee abandoned the Women's Super League clash when it became apparent the pitch was too frozen.

While it was broadly agreed to be the correct decision as players had been slipping on the surface, questions were asked as to why the game was allowed to go ahead in the first place and why stadiums that host WSL games are not all equipped with pitch heating facilities.

"You could see from the opening minutes that it was like an ice rink down the sides," Hayes told BBC Sport after the game was stopped. "[Liverpool manager] Matt Beard was upset that it even got to that point and he's right.

"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.

"The game should never have started. Everyone wanted to get the game on, but when you have got emotions of teams wanting or not wanting to play, that's when you need a decision from above. The FA weren't here, they need to be making the decision.

"We've made progress with investment into the quality of grasses and surfaces across the league. No game at the top level of the women's game should be cancelled. We need undersoil heating, we don't live in Barbados."

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema took to Twitter to lament the decision to postpone that game as well as Tottenham's clash with Leicester City due to cold weather, posting: "Players safety should always come first. Luckily no one got injured today.

"Only way to fix this is to demand undersoil heating or playing our games in men's stadiums. FA and clubs, please do better."

The Dutch star was quote-tweeted by Liverpool's Katie Stengel, who wrote: "I heard Stamford Bridge was wide open today."

Chelsea's Fran Kirby also gave her thoughts on Twitter, adding: "Apologies to both sets of fans who travelled today. Players safety should always be the number one priority. Luckily no one was injured today and the right decision was taken eventually. Women's football deserves better and we won't stop fighting to make that happen"

Liverpool defender and Women's Super League (WSL) record appearance maker Gilly Flaherty has announced her retirement from playing at the age of 31 for family reasons.

Flaherty made 177 WSL appearances with Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool, whom she joined last July.

She brings down the curtain on a career that saw her win four WSL titles, seven Women's FA Cups and the Women's Champions League in 2007.

London-born Flaherty, who also won nine caps for England, took the decision to hang up her boots following the recent death of her father.

"It isn't a decision I've taken lightly but one I've reached after speaking with those closest to me," she said in a statement published on Liverpool's official website on Thursday.

"Losing my dad just before Christmas has left me heartbroken – for 22 years we shared our love of football and playing-wise I don't want to carry on without him by my side.

"Playing-wise, I know the right decision is for me to call it a day. The time is right for me to be around my family and to be nearest to those closest to me."

Former West Ham captain Flaherty's final WSL appearance came against the Hammers in a 2-0 win for Liverpool last month.

Jordan Nobbs has been backed to "cement her place" in the England team after ending a 12-year Arsenal career by making a surprise move to Aston Villa.

The 69-cap midfielder is a former Lionesses vice-captain whose career has been hit by knee and ankle injuries in recent seasons.

The switch to Women's Super League rivals Villa, announced on Thursday, gives Nobbs a fresh start as she seeks regular club football.

Nobbs was recalled by Sarina Wiegman to the England squad after missing the Euro 2022 win through injury, and the 30-year-old has now signed an 18-month deal with Villa, hoping it will be the springboard to a key role with the Lionesses at the 2023 World Cup.

Daughter of former Hartlepool defender Keith Nobbs, Nobbs joined Arsenal from Sunderland in August 2010 and won WSL titles in 2011, 2012 and 2019 with the Gunners, also winning the Women's FA Cup four times.

She hit 81 goals in 270 games for Arsenal, the north London club said.

Villa manager Carla Ward said: "This is a big signing for us and Jordan is one of the country's most decorated footballers. She's a winner and will bring a wealth of experience that her new team-mates will thrive off."

Ward told Villa's website: "We're delighted to secure her signature and we hope this move can help the football club as well as cement her place back in the international set-up."

Arsenal sporting director Edu described Nobbs as "a wonderful servant" to the club who had "written her name into the Arsenal history books".

Tottenham have signed Bethany England from Chelsea for a reported fee of £250,000, a British-record amount for a domestic transfer in women's football.

The previous record was the £200,000 paid by Chelsea to Manchester United in 2021 for Lauren James, sister of the Blues' men's player Reece James.

The biggest fee paid for a women's player in world football was the reported £350,000 (€397,000) spent by Barcelona to sign midfielder Keira Walsh from Manchester City in September.

England has signed a three-year deal with Spurs, who are eighth in the Women's Super League, 18 points behind table-topping Chelsea with a game in hand.

A part of the England squad that won the European Championships last year, the 28-year-old has scored 11 goals in 21 appearances for the Lionesses.

England spent seven years at Chelsea, scoring 74 goals in 164 appearances and winning nine major trophies.

Vivianne Miedema feels "gutted" to have ruptured her ACL after lightning struck twice for Arsenal, with the Netherlands striker suffering the same cruel knee injury as her partner Beth Mead.

Arsenal and Miedema confirmed the striker's setback on Monday, with the club saying the WSL's all-time record goalscorer faces an "extended" lay-off, just like Mead who sustained the same blow in November.

Both could now miss the Women's World Cup, which will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand in July and August next year.

Miedema appears to have counted herself out of the reckoning for that tournament, four days after the injury occurred in a European clash with Lyon.

She said: "It was one of those moments, where I knew straight away. So many things going through your head: I won't be able to help my team anymore this season, no World Cup, surgery and rehab for a long time."

She expects "plenty of difficult days" and said there had already been tears.

The anterior cruciate ligament injury is one that requires surgery and a long recovery period, and Arsenal's hopes in this season's Women's Super League and Women's Champions League have taken a fresh hit with the loss of Miedema so soon after Mead's setback.

Mead posted a message of support to her 26-year-old girlfriend and team-mate, saying: "STRONGER TOGETHER! I was given sympathy for 3 weeks and now she has to go get some of her own but we got this, YOU got this."

England international Mead joked that there would be "two new signings incoming", but the jollity masks a bitter reality for Arsenal, both players, and their national teams.

Arsenal said in a statement: "We can confirm that Vivianne Miedema suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament during our UEFA Women's Champions League match against Lyon at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

"Viv will undergo surgery in the coming days and will unfortunately be ruled out for an extended period of time. A more detailed timescale will be established once the operation is complete.

"Everyone at Arsenal wishes Viv well in her recovery and will be providing her with all the support she needs to return to action as soon as possible."

Khadijah Shaw has expressed her delight at winning the Women’s Super League Player of the Month Award for the very first time.

The 24-year-old Manchester City and Jamaica striker was named Barclays WSL player for October after leading her team to victories over Leicester City, Tottenham and Liverpool, scoring five goals in those three matches.

Shaw’s seven goals this season make her the leading scorer in the WSL and has helped City climb to fourth in the league on 12 points after losing their first two games of the season.

“I am delighted to win this award for the first time. It has been a very successful month for us as a team and I am grateful to everyone who voted for me in a very talented shortlist of players,” said Shaw who played for Jamaica in their 1-0 win over Paraguay in an international friendly in Jamaica on Thursday.

“We are feeling so confident after these recent wins and I am enjoying my football right now personally, but the most important thing is results and helping the team to have as much success as possible.”

Shaw is in her second season with Manchester City after joining in 2021 from Bordeaux in France where she was the Golden Boot winner with 22 goals and seven assists.

Shaw will suit up for Jamaica again on Sunday when Jamaica plays Paraguay at the National Stadium in Kingston in the second of two international friendlies.

Khadijah Shaw is on a hot streak, scoring once again Sunday in Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the Women’s Super League in England.

The goal-hungry Reggae Girlz captain has now scored five goals in her last three matches having scored twice against in Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Leicester City on October 16 and then scored another brace in her side’s 3-0 win over Tottenham on October 22.

On Sunday, Shaw opened the scoring for the Citizens, who have temporarily moved up to fourth in the WSL standings after taking maximum points from the last three matches.

The opening goal came in the 21 minute when Lauren Hemp beating her marker at the edge of the box before threading a low pass through for Shaw, who slotted home into the bottom-right corner past goalkeeper Rachael Laws.

City’s lead would last all of 12 minutes when Liverpool’s Katie Stengel robbed Alex Greenwood of the ball deep inside the opponents half and found herself one-on-one with shot-stopper Ellie Roebuck. She tucked the ball away nearly to tie the score 1-1.

Shaw played a part in City’s winner after a searching run to the edge of the box after which she passes to Hayley Raso, whose shot in parried by Laws. However, Raso follows up the rebound and smashes the ball into the roof of the net to give her side another valuable three points.

City, who were winless after their first two games in the season, not have nine points from five games.

Liverpool Women defender Gilly Flaherty has revealed her heartbreak at being targeted for abuse on social media by disgruntled Reds fans, saying it "hits on another level".

The former Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham player, who also played for the England national team earlier in her career, moved to Liverpool in July.

Flaherty, 31, says she has been "slaughtered on social media" after matches in the Women's Super League by fans of her own team.

Her comments drew a largely sympathetic response, with some Liverpool supporters insisting such critics were in the minority.

Flaherty wrote on Twitter after Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday: "Joining a new team is hard in the first place but to not be approved of by the fans & to just get slaughtered on social media after most games by your own fans is [heartbreaking].

"I've never cared about opposition fans doing it but when it's your own fans it hits on another level."

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes is stepping away from day-to-day activity with the Women's Super League team after undergoing an emergency hysterectomy, she has announced.

The Blues boss has suffered with endometriosis and will take a recovery period as she looks to return to full health before resuming her Chelsea duties.

In a statement, Hayes said assistants Denise Reddy and Paul Green would take temporary charge.

Hayes said: "Last Tuesday I underwent an emergency hysterectomy following my ongoing battle with endometriosis. I'm now in recovery and will need time and patience to return to full health.

"We have built a tremendous team over many years, and we've adopted a very multi-disciplinary approach so that if situations like this arise, we are capable of being able to respond to the challenge

"We have full confidence in Paul, Denise and all of the staff. We also know the team are very special, and we have no doubt they'll do everything to maintain their high standards.

"To our fans, you've had to listen to me bellowing from the other side of the pitch every week, but now I want to hear you even louder because I'll be sitting at home watching the team on the television until my return.

"I know you'll respect that my health comes first and at this time I've got to prioritise what I need to do for me. I fully expect to make a full recovery and I look forward to seeing you in the foreseeable future."

Defending WSL champions Chelsea beat West Ham in their last game and sit fourth in the table in the early stages of the season. They face Everton this weekend before kicking off their Women's Champions League campaign against Paris Saint-Germain on October 20.

Hayes, 45, has been manager of Chelsea since August 2012, leading the team to five WSL titles in that time. She was winner of FIFA's The Best Women's Coach for 2021, receiving that award in January of this year.

The Women's Super League attendance record was sent tumbling on Saturday as 47,367 fans watched Arsenal thrash north London rivals Tottenham 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

A high crowd at the Emirates was significantly larger than the previous record – set when 38,262 people watched the same two sides face off at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in November 2019.

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall said the match would represent a historic moment for the women's game on Friday, declaring: "They're not giveaways, they're not discounted, they're sold tickets.

"I think that's really special, because that means the interest there, it is for real."

Those in attendance at the Emirates on Saturday were not disappointed, as Vivianne Miedema's brace, as well as goals from Beth Mead and Rafaelle, fired Eidevall's side to a dominant win.

Miedema's tally of eight goals against Spurs is a WSL record, while Arsenal have become the first team in the competition's history to keep eight consecutive clean sheets after shutting their rivals out.

The landmark occasion represents another high-point for the women's game in England.

A record crowd for any European Championship fixture – men's or women's – was set at Wembley Stadium when 87,192 watched the Lionesses win their first major trophy by beating Germany on July 31.

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall believes years of effort and investment have paid off as the Gunners prepare to shatter the Women's Super League attendance record against Tottenham.

Over 50,000 fans are expected at Emirates Stadium for Saturday's north London derby, as WSL clubs seek to build on the shining success of England's home Euro 2022 triumph.

A record crowd for any European Championship fixture – men's or women's – was set at Wembley when 87,192 spectators saw the Lionesses beat Germany after extra time on July 31.

Now the Gunners are poised for a bumper crowd of their own, and Eidevall was keen to highlight there had been no fudging the numbers with the impressive ticket take-up.

"It's 50,000 sold tickets," he said. "They're not giveaways, they're not discounted, they're sold tickets. I think that's really special, because that means the interest there, it is for real.

"The investment the team has done, but also all the past generations to take us to this stage here, that is phenomenal. We want to make the most of it tomorrow, so it can happen more freely."

Champions Chelsea were stunned 2-1 by promoted Liverpool as the Women's Super League season got under way, with American Katie Stengel converting two second-half penalties.

All three goals came from the spot, with Chelsea's Fran Kirby firing home in the third minute, before Stengel equalised in the 67th minute and netted the winner three minutes from the end on her WSL debut.

It is the first time a promoted team have defeated the reigning champions in their opening match since March 2015, when Liverpool were on the receiving end of a 2-1 loss against Sunderland.

Stengel said Liverpool came into the contest against Chelsea with strong belief.

"[We felt] we could win this game," she told Sky Sports. "It's just another team out there, another 11 players, and we've prepared all pre-season, so why not believe in ourselves?"

Speaking about her second penalty, late in the game, Stengel added: "I told myself, 'Don't miss' – please don't miss – all these people will make fun of me if I miss'. I got lucky, I guess."

This round of games was intended to be the second round of fixtures, but the first week's programme was postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Liverpool manager Matt Beard echoed the sentiment that his team were a match for Chelsea, and that they deserved the result in the end.

"It's just the first game, and I felt over the course of the game that we deserved it," Beard said.

"It's great that we've started with three points at home – this was a fortress for us last year, and we made it uncomfortable and difficult for Chelsea today."

Barcelona succeeded in their push to sign Keira Walsh after using "really aggressive" transfer tactics, according to Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor.

The England midfielder, who shone for the Lionesses in their Euro 2022 trophy success, joined Barcelona on September 7.

The Catalan giants were reported to have paid a world-record fee of around £350,000 (€400,000) to secure Walsh's signature, although that has been cast into some doubt by subsequent comments from Barcelona.

Walsh left City a day before the Women's Super League transfer deadline, and Taylor said the timing was "down to Barcelona and nothing to do with us".

"I always believe that you want players who want to be here. Keira had given eight solid years of service and probably her last season developed into one of her best seasons for the club and on the international stage," Taylor said.

"When you have that and another project comes along, that was a real opportunity for her: a different league and a different country."

She pushed for the move, Taylor added. At that point City had little option but to negotiate the best possible deal.

"The last thing you want is a player who's going to stay because we made a decision to not take a world record fee and being really disgruntled; I don't think anyone really gains from that," Taylor said.

"We tried to support Keira the best we could while trying not to kill ourselves. Some of the earlier bids were of that mind where we weren't comfortable with that.

"But towards the end it was really aggressive bidding from them."

Taylor said the fee, which has not been officially disclosed, was high enough to show "we're doing something right here at the club".

He said signing a like-for-like replacement at close to Walsh's world-class level might cost City as much as they received for the 25-year-old, who has been reunited with England team-mate and former City colleague Lucy Bronze at Barcelona.

After a summer of big-name exits, with Bronze going to Barcelona and Georgia Stanway and Caroline Weir also departing to join Bayern Munich and Real Madrid respectively, and Ellen White retiring, it remains to be seen how City cope in the new WSL season, which gets under way this weekend.

On deadline day, City plugged a hole in their squad with the signing of Japan midfielder Yui Hasegawa from West Ham.

Taylor takes his team to Aston Villa on Sunday for their opener, after last week's programme of games was postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Erling Haaland and Casper Ruud are flying the Norwegian flag high at the top of their sports, with Brighton and Hove Albion Women's new recruit Elisabeth Terland inspired by her compatriots.

Norway international Terland left SK Brann for Brighton in August and will hope to make her Women's Super League debut on Friday against Arsenal.

The 21-year-old, who has 13 international caps, referenced the rapid start Haaland has made to life at Manchester City, where he has scored 13 goals in just nine appearances since leaving Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland enjoyed a reunion with his former club on Wednesday, netting a sublime acrobatic finish to take his tally to 26 goals in 21 Champions League appearances – a strike every 62 minutes on average.

With City's new recruit taking the Premier League by storm, Terland hopes to emulate her fellow Norwegian as she prepares for a new challenge in England.

"The things he's doing at the moment are sick. It's just cool to see how a player can come into a new league and come into a new team and just perform time after time," she told Stats Perform. 

"Of course, it's inspiring. Everybody from Norway is really proud of him and what he's doing. Everybody is supporting him. He's a good product of our country."

While Haaland has made a flying start at City, tennis player Ruud reached his second major final of the season at the US Open.

Carlos Alcaraz proved a step too far for Ruud in the battle for the world number one spot at Flushing Meadows on Sunday, but the 23-year-old is another compatriot serving as inspiration for Terland.

"I did watch a little bit [of the US Open final]. It was quite late. Of course, it's just as inspiring to see people doing well in [other] sports," she added.

"That makes you want to do well in sports as well. [He is] a great athlete and does it time after time as well. Hopefully, next time he will win."

Chelsea and Germany goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger has revealed she has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer for a second time and will begin treatment this week.

Berger was initially diagnosed in November 2017 during her time with Birmingham City, but made a full recovery and was subsequently named in the PFA Team of the Year.

However, the 31-year-old said on Tuesday that after four years being cancer-free, a recurrence has been detected in her thyroid.

"I've said before that as a sportsperson, you have to fight every day to be the best you can be and that's something I will continue to do," she said in a statement.

"I hope by sharing my journey I can help others that find themselves in a similar situation.

"I am working closely with my club doctor and specialist in London, and my treatment will start this week.

"I remain positive that my treatment will be as effective as last time, and I'm looking forward to returning to the pitch and seeing you all at Kingsmeadow and Stamford Bridge."

Berger has played a key role between the sticks for Chelsea in their Women's Super League triumphs of the past three seasons.

The former Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper, who won the WSL's golden glove in 2020-21, was also part of the Germany squad that reached the Euro 2022 final last month.

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