The Women’s Super League chief referee admits they have to ‘take a lot of learning’ after the game between Chelsea and Liverpool was abandoned.
Sunday’s game was called off after six minutes due to a frozen pitch.
The pitch had passed an inspection to start as scheduled at 12:30 GMT.
Bibiana Steinhaus Webb, who heads up refereeing for women’s professional football in England, said: “We understand the fans and the TV, but the safety of the players is our one and only target.”
Referee Neil Hair called off the match – hosted at Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames, London, and shown live on BBC Two – due to an unsafe pitch, with officials slammed for allowing it to start in the first place .
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said the women’s game should be taken more “seriously”, and Liverpool boss Matt Beard said: “It shouldn’t have been played in the first place.”
Former England and Brighton manager Hope Powell, working as a BBC pundit for the game, described the situation as “embarrassing”.
Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) women’s professional game director for the selected group Steinhaus Webb told BBC Sport on Monday: “We learned a lot from the weekend.
“The only person who can abandon this game is the referee, and he gave the game the best chance of being played.
“He put everything into context and consideration, for the fans, the viewers and the teams. However, we have to make player safety our main priority.”
Steinhaus Webb pointed to an early incident involving Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert as a dropout factor.
“The players slipped in the first minute,” she said. “Cuthbert stretched for the ball in the first minute and landed on her back, if she landed on her head it could have caused serious damage. We cannot allow that to happen.”
Steinhaus Webb has defended moves by the Football Association to try to get games started, saying it spent around £40,000 on heating and pitch covers.
She said she had been monitoring the weather forecast from Monday to see how conditions would affect matches over the weekend, and that referee Hair and his team had contacted Chelsea on Saturday with concerns about the pitch given the cold, before we could first inspect the pitch at 09:00. :30 GMT Sunday – three hours before kick-off.
Steinhaus Webb said: “At 9.30am, the first time the referee looked at him, he was not convinced that the surface was playable. However, he was in close contact with ground staff, and with the heating at full power, you can actually immediately see the surface change.
“A second inspection of the pitch was then decided before the warm-up; this time it was completely playable, it was fine during the warm-up. When the teams came for the line-up, there was a slight change of surface because the heating made it wet on the top.
“The pitches team, who know their surface best, said it would hold up, but with that thin layer of moisture it deteriorated again. It made a thin surface layer very quickly. tough on top, so after six minutes the referee made the difficult decision to abandon the game for the safety of the players, which is paramount.”