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NWSL changes rules, game times to aid player safety

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Five Reign FC games shift kickoff time, but at the expense of seeing Seattle on TV again this regular season.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Following an outcry regarding the league’s plan for extreme conditions after the Seattle Reign FC game against Houston Dash on May 27, the National Women’s Soccer League announced today that it has adjusted the start times of 23 games over the remainder of the 2017 season and implemented new procedures for addressing extreme heat, effective immediately.

Of particular note, there is a new rule adding mandatory game delays if the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature is 95°F or above, which should help prevent any future incidents like the one in Houston. Wet Bulb Globe Temperature is similar to traditional heat index measurements of temperature and humidity, but also takes into account wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover.

“The safety of everyone involved with the execution of NWSL matches, including players, referees and fans, is paramount,” said NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy in a league press release. “These are important measures that will help to ensure the safest environment possible at all league matches, and we will continue to evaluate steps that can be taken in the future.”

From a Seattle perspective, the start time of five Reign FC games has been changed, one home and four away. The dates and new kickoff times are as follows:

Notably, two of those matches were originally scheduled as the Lifetime TV game of the week – July 8 at North Carolina and September 9 at Orlando. Due to the schedule adjustments, those games will now be broadcast on go90 and NWSLsoccer.com.

Additionally, the August 26 home game against the Portland Thorns has also been moved from Lifetime TV to go90, although the kickoff time for that game remains 1:00 PM PT. With these changes, Seattle currently has no further regular season games on Lifetime TV.