How we use Cookies

Referee was right to call off Accrington - Rotherham game

Referee Chris Sarginson said he had never called a game off so late – but the torrential downpour at tea-time on Tuesday left him with no option.

Referee Chris Sarginson said he had never called a game off so late – but the torrential downpour at tea-time on Tuesday left him with no option.

Both the Stanley and Rotherham players were warming up for the League Two clash when the heavens opened and the Staffordshire official said the players’ safety was paramount as he called the game off around 15 minutes before kick-off, with fans just arriving for the game.

"The pitch is in fantastic condition and the groundstaff and club couldn’t have done more," said Sarginson, with the match just down the road at League One Bury also postponed due to the weather.

"But it was just unforeseen circumstances. I have never called a match off so late and never been involved in a match which has been called off so late.

"At 6.45pm there was no problem with the pitch, it was in fantastic condition, and then I went into the changing rooms, came out at 7.15pm and, due to the heavy rain, I was seriously concerned for the players’ safety and that’s my main concern.

"The ball was holding up and sticking and if one of the players had got injured in those circumstances, I cannot defend myself.

"I could have started the game but heavy rain was forecast all night and it wouldn’t have finished.

"I can understand the players and the fans’ frustrations but, at the end of the day, it’s my call and it was the right decision.

"It also helps that both are sensible clubs and both managers were in agreement with my opinion."

Rotherham assistant boss Paul Raynor said he had never seen Stanley’s pitch look so good after thousands of pounds was spent on it in the summer but was in agreement with the ref, as was Stanley’s Paul Cook.

The Accrington boss said: "The referee got both managers together and said he wasn’t happy with the pitch.

"Both managers said it was the ref’s call, that’s what he is there for, and he called the game off.

"The ball wasn’t moving. There were areas of the pitch where the ball was holding up badly and it would have affected the way we want to move and pass the ball and we trust the referees to make the right decision.

"We are very disappointed for supporters but it’s about the health and safety of everyone and there was torrential rain before the game so we must respect his decision.

"The referees are in charge and they need the backing of everyone and the referee has certainly got my backing and Paul Raynor’s.

"We are disappointed for the Rotherham fans as they have come over after work on a wet and windy night but football supporters at teams like ours support their teams through thick and thin and I am sure they will be back for the re-arranged game."

Managing director Rob Heys said: "A couple of years ago we had a lot of problems with the pitch and we had become accustomed to games being called off.

"But we had 80mm of rain in two days last week and the pitch took it fine so when it started raining at tea-time we didn’t think it was a problem.

"It caught us off guard a little as we didn’t have the same contingency plans as we did a couple of years ago.

"It’s hard for a club of our size as you lose the matchday income but the referee has made the right decision and the two managers are in agreement.

"This is no reflection on our groundsman Buzzer (Martyn Cook) but it is the right decision.

"It went from dry and then the rain came on at tea-time and got heavier and then torrential and there is only one decision to be made, sadly.

"You do feel sorry for the Rotherham fans as they have travelled the furthest but saying that one of our season ticket holders came from Bristol for the game."

 
comments powered by Disqus

Premier League News

Journalists

Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Crime
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Reporter
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist