Ref Had No Choice
The match between Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland was called off by match official Phil Dowd at 6pm tonight. The Ewood Park outfit have promised a full investigation as to why the under soil heating didn't prevent the frozen pitch.
Rovers managing director Tom Finn told the official site: 'The senior squad trained on the pitch on Christmas Day and the heating was switched on again immediately after they had finished. Everything seemed to be in order and the pitch was fit late in the afternoon, but a drop in temperatures after daylight hours lead to problems, particularly in the Darwen End goalmouth. We immediately notified the referee who made his decision to postpone the fixture after two inspections. We have never lost a home Premier League fixture to frost and we can only offer our sincere apologies to all supporters, especially those who have travelled down from the north east. We now intend to carry out a full investigation of the heating system in an effort to ensure that the situation does not happen again in the future.'
The official site also confirms that tickets will be valid for the fixture when it is re-arranged and that refunds will also be processed via the ticket office.
Meanwhile Phil Dowd told Sky Sports News that he had no choice but to call the game off. 'Safety is paramount and there was no safety there for them. I tried to stop and you saw me skidding on three yards so obviously you can't run on it - not flat out. You can probably jog on it but that wouldn't make a game of football and it's not safe for the players to play on.'
He also says that he doesn't blame the club although I'm the Sunderland fans who made the journey down might disagree!
He said: 'I was available all afternoon but the club thought it was alright about 2.15 when I rang them but the weather has dropped pretty drastically in the last few hours - I don't think you can blame anyone really. I think it's safest for everyone.'
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