Chelsea v Manchester United postponed despite lack of snow

20 December 2010 09:49
The decision to postpone the eagerly-awaited clash between Chelsea and Manchester United was taken by the Metropolitan Police and Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

Health and safety concerns meant the Barclays Premier League fixture was postponed more than 27 hours before Sunday's scheduled 4pm kick-off.

Snow-go zone: Stamford Bridge appears clear of danger in this picture taken at 2pm om Sunday - two hours before the game was due to start

A Chelsea spokesman said: 'The match was postponed on health and safety grounds. The decision was taken between the local authority, the club and the police.

'With the downpour of snow on Saturday morning, it wasn't just conditions around the stadium but the whole Fulham area. There were concerns about people getting to the ground, as well as staffing at the game and police staffing.'

United defender Rio Ferdinand was less than impressed. Ferdinand wrote on Twitter: 'Did any1 see the Ipswich game yesterday? Pitch covered in snow. so how was that game played and ours (premier league) is postponed?

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'It's our country's fault - we can't deal with snow. How did we not prepare ourselves though? It's not like it crept up on us, we knew it was coming.'

Ferdinand then commented 'Wow' on a post from a fan on Saturday, which read: 'No Heineken Cup rugby games have been called off - do rugby fans travel on different roads to football fans?'

A deluge of snow hit west London on Saturday morning. Snow was also forecast between 3-6pm yesterday, with temperatures dipping to -2˚C.

Some train services between Manchester and Euston were cancelled yesterday afternoon but the District Line on the London Underground, which serves Stamford Bridge, reported a 'good service'.

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There would have been no problems with the pitch. Stamford Bridge has a water pipe system, which acts like a radiator as hot water is pumped under the pitch. A police spokesman said: 'There were concerns over public safety. Clubs generally do a very good job of getting the stadium fit for use, but travel to and from the game would have been difficult.

'Clubs liaise with the police in the run-up to a game and are in regular contact. The final decision is made by the club.'

In fact, this is not the case. Under Premier League rule E13, a match can be postponed or abandoned only if it clashes with a Champions League, Europa League or FA Cup fixture; by 'order of the police or any other authority exercising its statutory powers', with the approval or on the instruction of the referee or with the 'prior written consent' of the Premier League board.

The home club cannot make the decision. The Premier League was satisfied the match should be postponed, but United were happy to travel. They planned to take the 2.34pm train from Manchester Piccadilly on Saturday. But at 12.50pm, manager Sir Alex Ferguson learned the game was off.

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Source: Daily_Mail