The Olympic women’s football final between Sweden and Canada on Friday has been switched from Tokyo to Yokohama and delayed from 11am until 9pm because of heat concerns.
Officials announced Thursday the match was being relocated from Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, the venue for the opening ceremony and athletics events, following talks between local organisers, FIFA and the International Olympic Committee.
“In order to continue to provide the best possible conditions for the players… it has been confirmed that this match will now take place at 21:00 at the International Stadium Yokohama,” organisers said in a statement.
The decision to relocate the final came after both teams were said to be concerned about the health and safety of their players.
Temperatures in the Japanese capital are expected to peak at 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) around midday on Friday.
“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,” tweeted Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic on the eve of the game.
“Once again money talks way too much in a discussion that should not be a discussion.”
It is believed US broadcaster NBC had originally wanted the game to be at a time that suited a US TV audience because the USA women’s team, the World Cup holders, were expected to be in the final.
But Megan Rapinoe’s side lost to Canada in the semi-finals and won the bronze medal in Thursday’s playoff against Australia.
As a result of the change, the men’s bronze medal match between hosts Japan and Mexico in Saitama on Friday will be brought forward two hours to 6pm.
Defending champions Brazil play Spain in the men’s final in Yokohama on Saturday, when kick-off is scheduled for 8.30pm.