Rotherham United manager Paul Warne has confirmed that his side are to potentially face a points deduction or a heavy fine.
There is a threat of potential sanctions from the English Football League which has stopped the club from asking for the governing body for Tuesday’s derby with Barnsley to be postponed.
The club have had their festive games against Derby County and Middlesbrough postponed.
And have had five confirmed cases of Covid-19 in their playing squad along with one staff member. The Millers also have five players on the long-term injured list leaving them short on numbers.
— Yorkshire Post Sport (@YPSport) December 28, 2020
But despite the major issues, and with manager Warne revealing that he will only have three or four players on his bench on Tuesday, Rotherham – who sit 21st in the Championship table – have chose not to postpone the game for fear of future ‘retribution’ from the EFL.
Warne said: “We have hit really bad. I don’t want games off, by the way. But in circumstances, I feel a little bit on the hard end of the decision.
“It will be the first game I have been in charge of where I do not know what I am going to get.
“I was advised that if we did not play the game, there would be retribution because I am going against medical advice. The medical advice is that nine days isolation is enough as I have enough players in the football club to get the game on. I do not want it on or to put anyone at risk. But now it is on, there is little I can do but pick the lads up.
“We could have postponed it. But I did not want to happen – which I was led to believe – was come March or April, the Premier League and Championship clubs get hit harder than League One and League Two clubs with Covid postponements and there was a fine because I am going against advice as they are saying the (Barnsley) game is playable.
“There was a fine with a possibility of a points deduction, which I do not want hanging over our heads. Regrettably, we have taken the game on and must try and put out best foot forward against a very good Barnsley side.”
‘I was advised if we don’t play on Tuesday we could face retribution’
WATCH: #rufc boss Paul Warne says the club fear a points deduction if they don’t play against Barnsley tomorrow despite having a depleted squad and players not having trained in 9 days. @itvcalendar pic.twitter.com/vPaW7E2Ruq
— Arif Ahmed (@ArifAhmedITV) December 28, 2020
He also spoke on the health of his available squad, who returned to training on Sunday without those who have tested positive, self-isolating or are injured, saying: “It is not great. It has been pretty well documented what has happened in the camp. We are fighting it to say the least. It is not great, but we will get the game on.”
He continued: “The day after the Blackburn game (on December 16), one of our players reported ill and did not come to the training ground and got tested and came back positive. No-one else had symptoms, but then we came into game against Derby on the Saturday (19th) and at quarter to 11, two other players reported similar symptoms and got tested.
“We had EFL advice to postpone the game and then everyone else gets tested and everyone at the training ground came down here (to the ground) on the Saturday, andstaff and everyone involved gets tested. It was virtually all negative, apart from one staff member.
“Then we got tested again on Tuesday and we learned that three players were positive and we were lucky we did not play the Derby game as I think we would have infected their team and squad as well.
“Then with EFL advice, we had the game called off against Middlesbrough. Then, we have the ten days of advice (not to train or play). The last time we met was on the Friday (18th) in training and weren’t due back until the Monday (28th), but the EFL asked us to come back in nine days instead of ten to give us two days to prepare.
“We still have a lot missing and yesterday (Sunday) morning as well, we had a player phone up with symptoms as well.
“To add to the woes, the EFL labs are closed and we had to go to the NHS and we are waiting for that result to see if he can take part.”
Madly, Manchester City have seen their Premier League fixture against Everton on Bank Holiday Monday postponed along with many from non league.
Fans reacted after seeing that Rotherham United potentially face points deduction…
— Lindsey Worrall 🎄 (@lindseyxrufc) December 28, 2020
I’d be interested to know how many Man City players would have been available for tonight’s game at Everton, in comparison to how many players Paul Warne and #rufc will have available tomorrow… https://t.co/2X7HnBbRY3
— Adam Oxley (@adam3oxley) December 28, 2020
It’s efl mate your talking about
— Chris (@ChrisMRUFC) December 28, 2020
— Neil (@Tykelad) December 28, 2020
@premierleague @EFL @EmiratesFACup football needs to be suspended NOW! It is becoming a farce. Following @nufc . #safc , Rotherham , Portsmouth , Leyton Orient and now @ManCity , the integrity , even handedness and equity of your competitions has been destroyed.
— Trevor Sharkey (@trevstanley) December 28, 2020
Yet little old Rotherham are being forced to play tomorrow despite significantly more players being out of action. Seems the health of Prem players is more important than those in the Championship.
— Chris Jay (@chris_jay_1) December 28, 2020
Crazy EFL, let’s throw the book at unfashionable Rotherham and let the big clubs do as they please, why do we even bother 🙄🤔
— Shaun Heley (@HeleyShaun) December 28, 2020
@reluctantnicko Paul warne just done his press conference says if we dont play tomorrow we could be docked points. We have 5 positive cases 3 in isolation and another player with symptoms today. 5 injured and member of staff positive. How can they let the game go ahead?
— Twin1986 (@Twin19861) December 28, 2020
Can you get a comment from the EFL on this issue Leon? Can’t they come out and explain their thinking behind the decision to force the game being played?
— Mick (@aka_manicmiller) December 28, 2020
So what would happen if Barnsley players became infected, then have to isolate and miss games, match should be postponed. good old @EFL strike again
— steve keys (@stevekeys5) December 28, 2020
Needs to be clear guidance from the EFL ie if you have more than 5 players out due to COVID then you won’t be deducted points if you can’t play match
— Millo (@PaulRMillward75) December 28, 2020
integrity? @EFL shameful.
— Christopher Worrall (@worrallc) December 28, 2020
This is disgusting from efl, efl are forcing a club who’s got covid running through its camp to play a game, risking not only other Rotherham players but Barnsley players & officials why isn’t government doing anything to stop it spreading covid @piersmorgan @MattHancock
— Chris (@ChrisMRUFC) December 28, 2020