REFEREE Chris Sarginson said he called off Rotherham United’s game at Accrington Stanley last night because of fears for the players’ safety had he let it go ahead in such treacherous conditions.
Torrential rain in the hour before kick left parts of the pitch under water and Sarginson said there was no way he could let the game go ahead.
“An hour before the game it was fine but as we were getting changed, me and my officials looked out and could see the ball starting to stick on the surface as players were going through their warm-ups.” said Sarginson.
“When I went out for my warm up half-an-hour before kick off it was quickly apparent that there was a problem.
“There was then such heavy downpour that water was holding and puddles were forming. I informed both managers (Accrington’s Paul Cook and Rotherham’s assistant manager Paul Raynor). They were not happy but it was an easy decision really. Player safety is paramount - every single time,” said Sarginson.
“My concern is for them and their safety. The ball was sticking, not rolling freely.
“One goal area and the far side were already in a dangerous condition and the forecast was for more rain.
“Had I started the match and a player had got a serious injury then I wouldn’t have been able to defend myself.”
He said that once he had made the decision, there was no going back on it.
Millers assistant Paul Raynor said he was happy to play and Paul Cook was happy too.
“We were desperate to play, we’d come in fine fettle after a good win on Saturday (Rotherham had named an unchanged side).
“In the end, whilst we wanted to play, we have to respect the ref’s decision and why he made it.”
Raynor said manager Evans (who had gone to check on York) would be frustrated by the extending of his ban as a result.
“It’s not Steve’s fault that the game was off and we could speak to the FA about the ban.
“He was so excited about the Southend game and lookinjg to get back to doing his job so to say that he will be frustrated is an understatement.”
His first game back now will be at Aldershot on October 20.
A number of Rotherham fans were in the ground and Accrington announced that they would be handing out vouchers for use when the game is rearranged. No date has yet been fixed.