Uncertainty. As England braced itself for the arrival and impact of Storm Ciara, football fans across the country remained on edge wondering, will they see any football over the weekend?
As the storm gradually grew in strength between Saturday and Sunday the fans got their answers. Match postponed, called off, phrases such as these and others meant no football was played across the women’s football pyramid. Below, we’ll see how different stakeholders handled and reacted to the situation.
The English Women’s football pyramid ranges from the Barclays FA WSL at the top, followed by the FA Women’s Championship, and rounded off by the FA Women’s National League.
The first league that addressed potential disruption is the latter mentioned above. On Saturday afternoon the league’s Twitter account tweeted the following:
This tweet caused confusion among fans. Following a few exchanges with fans the league released a second statement:
Moving upwards in the football pyramid, confusion was evident on the FA Women’s Championship Twitter feed. It seems that the next tweet was pre-scheduled as the chain of tweets afterwards feels a bit detached.
Additional evidence that this tweet was probably pre-scheduled is that a few minutes earlier the league’s account retweeted Coventry United’s tweet regarding their match being postponed:
Once matches were called off the league expanded the original tweet about the fixtures to announce the postponements. Up in the WSL, it seemed that no statement is needed. The WSL’s Twitter account first acknowledgement was to retweet Arsenal’s tweet about their match vs Spurs being postponed.
More retweets about postponed matches followed and once it was clear that all matches are cancelled the league provided other forms of content and encouraged fans to still use the FA Player.
In addition, reaction to the storm came from some players too. West Ham & Ireland midfielder Leanne Kiernan chose to address the situation in a comical way by posting the following video:
Chelsea & England goalkeeper, Carly Telford raised a more cynical voice on the matter:
Fans expect to know
With each postponed match, the conversation on Twitter grew. Fans and media expressed their views, mostly questioning whether more could have been done to give travelling fans and teams a longer notice. Interestingly, the EFL tweeted on Sunday a video detailing the process of match postponement despite only one Championship match taking place on Sunday.
Unfortunately, clubs in the women’s football pyramid are familiar with matches being postponed even without extreme weather conditions as the last weekend presented. With a few matches already postponed this season, a rescheduling headache awaits for the FA.
After the situation cleared a bit, clubs were quick to state that any purchased tickets will be available to use once the matches are rescheduled. Those who want a refund can claim so. There were also reports that clubs will provide coaches for the rescheduled matches to support fans.
In an article on The Athletic, Aaron Little, General Manager of Everton Ladies detailed the postponement process and the debate as to when to make a decision. As it seems, the decision whether to postpone or not is down to the clubs, explaining perhaps, the lack of communication from the leagues to fans.
However, in a world that is constantly switched on and with an audience that is expecting instant notifications, a simple message from clubs in advance along the lines of: “We’re closely monitoring the storm’s situation and impact on X match. We aim to announce our final decision at X time. We currently advise fans to…” can do all the difference.