The women’s Olympic football final is set to be moved to later in the day and possibly switched to a different venue due to heat concerns, the Guardian understands.
The match between Sweden and Canada was scheduled to take place in the main Olympic Stadium in Tokyo and kick-off at 11am local time on Friday. However, temperatures in the Japanese capital are set to peak at midday at 32 degrees. It is understood that both teams are concerned for the health and safety of their players and discussions have taken place over the possibility of switching the time of the showpiece final. It is understood there are also some concerns about the state of the pitch.
With track and field events scheduled to take place in the evening there is a desire to change the venue to accommodate the concerns of players.
The Sweden and Chelsea goalkeeper, Zecira Musovic, tweeted over her frustration regarding the kick-off on the eve of the game. “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,” she wrote. “Once again money talks way too much in a discussion that should not be a discussion.”
Sweden’s Bayern Munich defender Hanna Glas said: “It’s a strange time. I have a hard time seeing a men’s team playing at 11 in the morning. It’s a bit sad that it’s like that. It’s going to be a big mental challenge.”
As well as the searing heat the players also have to deal with a schedule change with all matches prior to the final having kicked off after temperatures have dropped a little between 4.30pm and 8.30pm local time.
It is believed that the 11am kick off was originally picked at the behest of broadcasters in the United States who were keen to show the final on prime time TV were the nation’s world champions, who were defeated by Canada in the semi-finals, to have reached the gold medal match.