LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The National Women's Soccer League championship game is moving from Portland to Louisville at the request of league players, the league announced Wednesday afternoon.
The story was first reported Wednesday morning by The Athletic's Meg Linehan, citing multiple sources.
A joint statement from the NWSL and its players' association said, in part, "At the request of the players, the NWSL has moved the NWSL Championship from Portland to Louisville. We realize the impact this has on the fans who have bought tickets and made travel arrangements. We hope that our fans will understand that this move is made with the support of the NWSL, the Players Association, the Portland Thorns, and Racing Louisville. Portland understood the importance of listening to the players, and Louisville stepped up to host. Players embraced the opportunity to kick off at noon local time in a fantastic venue. We sincerely hope that fans will consider making this move east with us, or that you watch this historic game on CBS."
The game in Portland was to kick off at 9 a.m. on the West Coast. NWSL players initially voiced concern over the early Pacific time start in Portland, though there also was some dissatisfaction with playing the final on turf. In Louisville, the game will occupy the same time slot, but will be played at noon Eastern.
Louisville's Lynn Family Stadium, in its second season of existence, has a natural grass surface. It played host to the inaugural Women's Cup earlier this summer, and was host to USL Playoff games a year ago.
Louisville originally bid to host the event, but eventually withdrew its attempt, as did Orlando, sources told The Athletic.
The NWSL playoffs will include six teams for the first time in 2021. Racing Louisville FC, in its first year as a league expansion franchise, was eliminated from playoff contention with a loss at Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
The move comes after the league has endured heavy criticism from players in the wake of multiple scandals that players don't think the league did enough to prevent.
"We are all dedicated to rebuilding a league that protects and promotes the best athletes in the world and that is focused on the players, their health, and their safety," the joint statement goes on. "The Players Association and the NWSL have also worked to come to an agreement on several of the demands set forth by the PA last week. Both parties have agreed to a good faith 5-day extension on the remaining items to finalize details and logistics and keep this progress moving forward."
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.