NWSL criticized as match relegated to aggressively small field

Sunday July 10th, 2016

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A match between the Western New York Flash and Seattle Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League on Saturday night was played at Frontier Field, a baseball stadium in Rochester N.Y., that could hold a pitch just 100 yards long and 58 yards wide according to match announcers

FourFourTwo USA reporter Jeff Kassouf noted that league regulations mandate a pitch that is at least 70 yards wide, but that an exception was given for this match because no other venue could be found. Nearby Rhinos Stadium, a larger field, was booked for a ’90s throwback concert.

The minimum width required by FIFA is 50 yards. 

Prominent American women's soccer players like Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger called this "shocking," "embarrassing" and "unacceptable," and tweeted at the league's commissioner, Jeff Plush.

Here's video of the match, to get a better sense of the size of the field.

A league spokesman told Kassouf that other options were explored. Later Saturday evening, Plush issued a statement on the match.

“Earlier this evening, the Western New York Flash hosted a home match at a different venue due to Rhinos Stadium not being available. The field dimensions were not up to our standards, but 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 that the integrity of the game is always respected both on and off the field. We did not do that tonight and we apologize to the NWSL players, coaches and fans. In the future, we will ensure that every NWSL match meets our standards.”

Seattle Reign manager Laura Harvey offer this clarification as well:

The U.S. women's soccer team has been pressuring the U.S. Soccer Federation for pay equal to what the country's male players make.

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