Just two hours before the kick-off, Birmingham City’s goalkeeper, Hannah Hampton, was informed she had been cut from the Team GB Olympic shortlist. She went on to make three errors in a 4-0 defeat to Everton.
Birmingham's head coach, Carla Ward, fired at FA after the defeat that kept her side in ninth place, stuck on 11 points, in the Women's Super League.
“Hannah’s made three errors for three of the goals tonight," Ward said. "An hour and half before kick off, the FA decided to give her a call ... the girls are going out to warm up and she’s in tears. We’re wondering whether to even play her.
"The timing was absolutely ridiculous. We have a kid, a [20-year-old] kid, in floods of tears, you can see that it’s clearly affected her and I think the timing of it is thoughtless.
“You’re not going to get Man City, it happening before Champions League night, but it’s okay to deliver news to players from both sides an hour and half before kick off when it’s Birmingham vs. Everton.
“She got the call at half 5, we’re kicking off at 7, we went 45 minutes upstairs with her.
"She’s deeply upset. Our focus should’ve been on the game. Her focus should’ve been on the game. We’ll have to pick her up, naturally. She’s been exceptional this season and I think she’s going to be heartbroken naturally. The timing is unacceptable.”
On the other end, Everton’s boss, Willie Kirk, also criticized the FA for their poor timing.
“The communication went out to the players before it went out to the clubs," Kirk said. "I think that’s poor, for a start.
"I think it’s important that, if you’re sharing good news or bad news, the clubs get a heads up so the clubs can try and support that if it’s bad news, and can try and I suppose support it if it’s good news as well.
"Certainly, a player finding out that information two hours before kick off is wrong, in my opinion. I think it’s very, very poor from the people who communicated it.
"It has affected our players. I think the players that were effected have dealt with it very professionally tonight. Both put in really good performances. Two have got disappointing news, and two players have got good news, they never let it affect them.
"But I think it’s poor timing. For me, there is no reason why that could not have been communicated either later tonight or first thing tomorrow.”
The FA issued a formal apology later that day, they wrote in a statement: “We apologise to the players and clubs concerned, and will also do so personally.
"The timing of the correspondence was an error but we take full responsibility for the upset this has caused."
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