Women's Olympic football final kick-off time pushed back over teams' heat fears

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Women's Olympic football final kick-off time pushed back over teams' heat fears - GETTY IMAGES
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Women's Olympic football final kick-off time pushed back over teams' heat fears - GETTY IMAGES

The kick-off time of Friday's women's football gold medal match has been put back by 10 hours by organisers in order to avoid the scorching hot weather that is forecast for the middle of the day, after a formal request from both teams.

Sweden and Canada had been originally scheduled to kick-off at 11am local time in Tokyo (3am BST), competing for Olympic glory in temperatures of up to 34 degrees centigrade, while the men's final and men's bronze medal match had already been given late evening kick-offs.

But after the women's teams wrote to the International Olympic Committee, the IOC and football's governing body Fifa met on Thursday and agreed to move the women's final to a 9pm kick-off local time, in much cooler conditions.

Concerns had been raised about players, staff, volunteers and photographers' health and safety, in the sweltering lunchtime temperatures.

The venue has also been changed, moving away from the Olympic Stadium, as Athletics finals will be held there in the evening during the match's new time. Instead, Yokohama's international stadium will stage the game.

The switch has been welcomed by both the Swedish and Canadian camps, as they both bid for their first gold in this event. Sweden took home the silver medal from Rio in 2016, while Canada have won bronze in each of the past two Olympics.

The time of Friday's men’s football bronze medal match in Saitama, between Mexico and Japan, will be brought forward from 8pm local time to 6pm to avoid a television clash with the rearranged women's final.

Sweden and Chelsea goalkeeper Zecira Musovic had earlier said on social media: "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. Once again money talks way too much in a discussion that should not be a discussion."

In a statement, Fifa told Telegraph Sport: "These [Olympics] have focused on providing outstanding venues and fields of play to athletes and have seen incredible sports performances over the past 16 days.

"In this regard Fifa, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the IOC have reviewed the planning for the Olympic women’s Football final to be held on Friday 6 August.

"In order to continue to provide the best possible conditions for the players and having taken into consideration the impact of weather conditions at the Olympic Stadium over the last few days, it has been confirmed that this match will now take place at 9pm at Yokohama Stadium.

"As a result the Olympic Football men’s bronze medal match originally scheduled for 8pm at Saitama on 6 August will be advanced to 6pm at the same venue."

The venue change means the Olympic stadium itself - traditionally hosting the opening and closing ceremonies, and the athletics events - will not host any football during this tournament.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino added: "We appreciate the focus of all parties in providing the best possible conditions for the players and look forward to outstanding Olympic matches showcasing the players and these incredible Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

"We also appreciate the outstanding legacy for Football which will be left for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, which we are sure will be the host of numerous famous Football moments as a legacy of Tokyo 2020."