Another League One match has been suspended after players test positive for coronavirus, as midweek football draws closer.
It comes off the back of two games from the third tier of English football being postponed at the weekend, causing more worries if the season would be able finish.
Tuesday night’s Sky Bet League One fixture between Swindon Town and Accrington Stanley has been suspended, they both have a big number of staff and players out.
The English Football League statement adds: “The decision follows the recent positive COVID-19 tests and the requirement for players and staff to self-isolate as per EFL and Government guidance in order to mitigate against the risk of further infection.
“The circumstances surrounding the postponement will now be the subject of investigation in accordance with EFL Regulations.
“A revised date for the rearranged fixture will be confirmed in due course.”
At the weekend, Swindon Town’s derby at Oxford United was postponed, whilst Accrington Stanley’s game against Bristol Rovers also didn’t go ahead.
It was first revealed by reliable journalist Alan Nixon that the Robins’ game was looking to be in threat of not going ahead.
At 12:49pm, he wrote: “Could be another League One club calling off their games with the virus. Six players sidelined. Not good.
“Virtually whole of backroom staff at a League One club tested positive. Total staff and players missing six … only two of them due to play … so game should go on but a bit of unhappiness over that. Manager able to take charge but staff missing.”
Three hours later, he stated: “Swindon. Four management staff ruled out with corona issues. Two players as well. Trying to get game decision but complicated because of some ‘three player’ rule nobody seems to be sure about.”
At 5pm, he said: “Oxford v Swindon goes ahead. Despite the Corona issues. Not heard last of this one.”
“Swindon. Manager been cleared after test. Four backroom staff will be missing. Only two players positive. EFL have told them to carry on and play the game.”
Then at nearly half 7: “Oxford v Swindon now off. Further talks with Health England and EFL in last hour. Was on at 6 and off at 7. Madness. State of the world right now. Question over whether Richie Wellens could be part of it after staff had positive tests a key factor.”
Managing Director Niall McWilliams said: “On behalf of Oxford United we can only apologise to our fans that a game they look forward to more than any other fixture has been called off in this manner. To say we are very disappointed is a massive understatement, however there was nothing we could do to avoid the game being called off [had two games against Crewe posptoned].
“It came after Swindon Town notified the EFL that they could not fulfil the fixture and the EFL have confirmed to us this evening that the game will not happen tomorrow. Until we had that confirmation we were unable to comment and that only adds to our frustration and we are currently seeking advice on our next steps
“We have now had three home games called off in quick succession and right now, when times are hard for every football club, that is putting livelihoods in doubt.
“We believe in the values and integrity of the EFL and what the league stands for but at the same time we will fight very hard for what we think, as a football club, is right.”
Accrington Stanley’s home match against Bristol Rovers was called off after EIGHT players and a member of staff tested positive.
Due to the number of positive cases of COVID-19 within the Accrington Stanley squad and the requirement for players and staff to subsequently self-isolate as per EFL and Government guidance, the Club has advised the EFL it is unable to safely fulfil this weekend’s fixture.
The circumstances surrounding the postponement will now be the subject of investigation in accordance with EFL Regulations.
“We also need to protect those who haven’t tested positive,” 58-year-old Coleman – who tested negative but is self-isolating – manager John Coleman told the club website.
“We need to batten down the hatches to stop it circulating any further.”
All Accrington players were tested for Covid-19 on Thursday after a couple of players fell ill, with the results received later in the day.
“I have spoken to the players and some of them are asymptomatic while a few are feeling it a little bit,” Coleman added.
“Luckily none are seriously ill, but they are fit lads and we hope that will help them a bit.
“Now it’s about following protocol and keeping everyone safe and limiting the spread, that’s our duty to the general public.”
Accrington’s match against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday the 31st of October is also in doubt.
“It’s not ideal to be missing what could be a number of games but that’s the situation which we are in,” Coleman added.
“It’s a big blow to be playing catch-up in the league but we have to get on with it and protect the players, staff, their families and the public.”
Stanley’s youth and academy teams will continue training and playing, but managing director David Burgess says the club will “keep everything closed and be ready for the first team to return in the next couple of weeks”.
Gillingham boss Steve Evans has been left absolutely furious at the EFL after he felt his team and staff were put at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Their opponents Fleetwood Town, who ended up winning Saturday’s League One clash 2-0 – played Accrington Stanley in midweek, a team who subsequently had eight players test positive for coronavirus.
Accrington’s game against Bristol Rovers was called off three days ago but Fleetwood travelled to Kent without having any tests.
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Fans reacted after hearing the latest League One match to be suspended after players test positive for coronavirus…
ask the EFL, we don’t make the rules, seems to be different for every team
— pol (@gu77ed) October 26, 2020
If the players are isolating for 14 days can’t see Saturday being on
— Eric higgins (@Belfastcarrick) October 26, 2020
If these positive tests carry on, football wil be stopped again ?
— Kyle Banbury (@studley86) October 26, 2020
The more this happens, the more I can see League One and Two ending on PPG again. Worrying
— Jason Lee ?? (@ForeverAYellow) October 26, 2020
— Rufy Rou (@isalouald) October 26, 2020