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Jonas Eidevall urges WSL to avoid ’emotional decisions’ on undersoil heating

Arsenal players at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal regularly play Women’s Champions League games at Emirates Stadium and hope to use it permanently in the future

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall says “emotional” decisions about investment in women’s football should be avoided amid growing calls for clubs to have undersoil pitch heating.

Despite an earlier inspection, the pitch appeared unsafe after kick-off.

“The easy thing is to try and fix the topic of the day,” said Eidevall.

“I completely agree with [Chelsea manager] Emma Hayes that to try to play that game and what happened was really bad for the league.

“But when we look at it from a zoomed-out perspective, we need to really see what the priorities should be with investment and we can’t make it emotional and because this was a problem yesterday, that all money should go into that.

“We need to take good decisions on where the investment should be going to grow the game in the long term and I’m very doubtful that should be put into undersoil heating at the moment.”

On Monday, Hayes said the WSL needs to find a solution to prevent games being called off.

When asked if clubs should invest in undersoil heating, she added: “In general, if this is the top division for women’s football, then we should be afforded exactly the same opportunity.”

Arsenal are set to face Aston Villa in their Continental Cup quarter-final at Meadow Park on Thursday (19:45 GMT) but a pitch inspection is due to take place at midday.

In a statementexternal-link, Arsenal said the club had “investigated the possibility of playing at Emirates Stadium, however this was not feasible due to essential pitch maintenance”.

Aston Villa manager Carla Ward said she had “every confidence the game will go ahead” when asked on Wednesday morning.

Ward also said questions around investment in undersoil heating should not be the priority.

“There’s only one question that wasn’t asked and it shouldn’t have been about undersoil heating, but who put those players at risk?” she added.

“Whose decision was it to put those players at risk? That for me is the bigger question.”

Arsenal boss Eidevall urged clubs to explore “short-term solutions” to preventing postponements until long-term solutions are decided, highlighting communication as a necessity.

“Early communication saves fans money and time for not travelling to grounds. I also think from a league perspective it saves us from not seeing the pictures we saw from Chelsea v Liverpool,” he said.

“It was really bad advertising for women’s football and the WSL more specifically. Long term, how do you solve that?

“I think you have to look at all the investments you need to make in the game and you need to prioritise. There’s so many things you would like to invest in the women’s game at the moment.”

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