Yet more snowfall and a rise in Covid-19 cases causes ten EFL matches to be postponed with another busy schedule set for the week.
It comes after the Premier League fixture between Everton v Man City as well as many non league games were called off just hours before kick off on Bank Holiday Monday.
Fans have taken to slam the EFL for the handling of Rotherham United who could have received a points deduction should they forfeit their Championship clash with Barnsley, yet might be forced to play with players out due to Covid-19 and with around four team members on the bench.
The next review of the tier system will be on the 30th of December, with the government looking at potentially putting more regions into tier 4 to control the rise in positive tests but also prevent the public from the new strain of the deadly virus.
Many members of staff from various clubs within professional football is considering halting the season temporarily and then extending the season. It’s no wonder with the amount of EFL games that are being called off.
However the English Football League are confident it can cope with the increasing number of games that are having to be postponed.
The EFL has recently written to clubs asking them to ensure they are redoubling their efforts to fulfil the Covid protocols. Clubs have been told to minimise the time that playing and non-playing staff spend indoors – which includes the use of gyms, changing and catering facilities.
They have also been advised to use individual cars rather than buses and limit social contact outside of their bubbles.
EFL MATCHES POSTPONED (29 DEC):
Millwall vs Watford
AFC Wimbledon vs Ipswich Town
Accrington Stanley vs Sunderland
Bristol Rovers vs Portsmouth
Fleetwood Town vs Doncaster Rovers
Hull City vs Lincoln City
Peterborough United vs Charlton Athletic
Rochdale vs Crewe Alexandra
Bolton Wanderers vs Morecambe
Mansfield Town vs Salford City
The Stags wrote via their website: Mansfield Town’s Sky Bet League Two encounter at home to Salford City has been postponed due to heavy snowfall in Mansfield.
The playing surface was deemed unplayable following a pitch inspection at 11am this morning.
Head groundsman Michael Merriman said: “The pitch is currently covered in an inch of snow and unfortunately, due to the current circumstances we find ourselves in, we are unable to invite supporters/volunteers into the ground to help clear it in time for this evening’s scheduled kick-off.
“Because of the effects of the pandemic in the close season, we weren’t able this year to prepare the pitch to its full capacity. There is therefore a drainage issue, which is causing a problem with water getting through the surface and into the drain, as will have been noticeable in our last home game against Southend United.”
A new date for the fixture will be announced in due course.
Following the additional postponements, the total number of EFL games affected by Covid-19 related issues is 43 suspended matches. There has also been one Carabao Cup match called off.
The EFL maintains there is still room in the fixture calendar to accommodate the postponed fixtures at this point.
OTHER POSTPONED EFL MATCHES
Peterborough v Doncaster (January 2)
Rochdale v MK Dons (January 2)
Oxford United v Doncaster (January 5)
Crewe v Bristol Rovers (January 9)
Oxford United v Shrewsbury (January 9)
Bradford v Morecambe (January 2)
Rochdale’s club doctor Wes Tensel has called for the EFL to see the “bigger picture” and halt the current campaign due to rising cases of coronavirus.
“This is my opinion as a doctor. Some people will disagree, some won’t, this is just my opinion based on what I have seen working in the NHS and at a football club,” he said.
“As a club we try to minimise the spread of Covid as much as possible, but we have heard about this new strain which is more transmissible, does it make sense for clubs to be travelling across tiers when other people are unable to see their relatives in another tier over Christmas?
“People could only see their loved ones outside in a park, but a whole coach-load of footballers can go up and down the country as they wish.
“That is my feeling as a doctor, as a football fan I don’t want it to stop. But I am trying to see the bigger picture.
“A lot of people have been affected this year, they have not been able to go on holiday and things, it must be a bit frustrating for them and they must ask, ‘Why are footballers allowed to go all over the place?’
“If the government were to put us in another lockdown like we had with the very first one where it was just essential travel, then football should also stop as well.
“If they carry on with tiers, the fact that everything the government have done so far the cases are still increasing, I would have thought football probably should be postponed.
“Footballers travelling around the country are not causing spikes in different tiers but they can still pass it on to their loved ones because the football bubble they are in bursts every time they go home. There are consequences outside of the football pitch.”