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CEO Provides an Update on the Postponement of the Swindon Fixture

17 February 2021

Following Saturday’s postponement of our home fixture against Swindon Town, CEO Martyn Starnes provides an update on the club’s complaint that was raised with both the EFL and the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL).

CEO Martyn Starnes said, “Our match against Swindon Town, that was due to take place on Saturday, was postponed by the referee at 11.15am in the morning.

"Our ground staff were on site from early in the morning, at which point they confirmed that the pitch would be playable.

"The referee arranged to attend the site earlier than normal for an inspection and we were staggered when we heard that the game had been postponed.

"The decision to postpone the fixture was strongly contested by our staff on site, particularly as Swindon appeared to have been informed before we had. After the decision was made the referee quickly left the stadium.  

"The club immediately complained to the EFL and the PGMOL, as the pitch was playable. We video called senior staff at the EFL to show them all parts of the pitch and evidence was collected of the conditions and the preparation. All of this was included as part of our complaint.  

"Since then, we have received an apology from the PGMOL and an acceptance that with hindsight the match should have taken place. 

"Unfortunately EFL regulations do not provide a provision to enforce a team to play a game at less than seven days notice and we were unable to get Swindon to agree to fulfil the fixture either later that day or the following day.

"Despite the apology being accepted, as a club, we feel that the EFL and the referees should be doing all they can to get fixtures fulfilled, with numerous inspections taking place before a definitive decision is agreed by all parties. We note that this practice was followed at other fixtures due to take place over the course of the weekend.  

"As a club, we believe that we have an obligation to continue to play games wherever possible, particularly in the current climate. Earlier this month we helped clear the pitch at Accrington and agreed to a delayed kick-off in order to get the fixture played, when it would have been easier for us to postpone.

"The club has been the victim of this poor decision and as it stands will have to cover the cost of the staffing required on Saturday, as well as the new arranged date at the end of March."

A new date of Tuesday, 23rd March has been set for the fixture.

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