Sheffield Wednesday: Owls cup tie called off

Sheffield Wednesday's FA Cup clash with Charlton has been called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
Sheffield Wednesday's FA Cup clash with Charlton has been called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
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Sheffield Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth round clash with Charlton Athletic has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch after heavy rain in the region.

The Hillsborough playing surface failed a pitch inspection this morning. Referee Mark Clattenburg deemed the pitch unplayable.

The postponement was a formality, with the pitch badly waterlogged.

The official said: “The decision was quite easy. Once I arrived at the ground at 10.30am for a pitch inspection, it was qute clear from walking on the pitch that it was severely waterlogged.

“I took advice from various people in the stadium. (including) the groundsman who knows his pitch really well.

“I’ve got the weather forecast and the ground staff have been working on the pitch since seven o’clock this morning: four hours, and water’s not going anywhere; it must be severely wet underneath, which is causing the water not to leave the pitch.

“The forecast is for rain all afternoon. Even taking safety out of it at this moment, I’m not sure we could get the pitch playable by three o’clock.

“Could I have delayed the kick-off? Even with a couple of hours, with the water that’s coming down, if the pitch had a 50-50 chance, I would have given it all the time possible. I’ve got to understand that Charlton supporters are travelling up from London and maybe some have set off so I’ve got to make a decision on that as well.

“At this moment the pitch had no chance, and with the weather I can’t say that at five o-clock the pitch would be playable.

“I’m very disappointed. I’ve worked all week to referee on Saturday, the same as the players who are ready for a Saturday and it’s an important game, the fifth round of the FA Cup is special.

“For two teams who are fighting against relegation in the Championship, this is a wonderful relief, a special time to get into the quarter-finals.

“As to when it can be rearranged, it’s always tough because there are many games ahead, and European games that won’t allow the game to be played at a certain time.

“It’s disappointing for everybody but when the game’s played we hope it’s going to be a wonderful spectacle.”