Sunderland vs Bolton - POSTPONED
SUNDERLAND'S home match with Bolton has been called off, completing a clean sweep of North-East football postponements. With the matches involving Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Hartlepool and Darlington already having succumbed to the winter weather, there will be no professional North-East football interest this weekend. The decision to call off Sunderland's game was taken after a lunch-time meeting of the club's safety advisory group. Ken Scott of Sunderland City Council, and chair of the Safety Advisory Group said: "The responsibility of the Safety Advisory Group is to ensure the safe arrival and departure of supporters, staff and attendant emergency services and to protect and look after the well-being of those people, which includes consideration of their safe arrival and departure from the stadium. "Our view is that the ability to do this would be severely compromised if we chose to go ahead with the game. "Clearly the combination of a number of factors has led us to make this decision. The early timing has been deliberate in order to avoid many thousands of people embarking on unnecessary and potentially hazardous journeys and to also negate additional impact upon local authority resources and the emergency services in the North-East region." Superintendant Steve Neill of Northumbria Police said: "We have conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the conditions, including coach parks, park and ride facilities, car parks and approach routes. "Taking into consideration the poor weather conditions in the area and the strong likelihood of those conditions worsening in the next 24-36 hours across the north of the country we have expressed real concerns in relation to fans and personnel from both clubs being able to attend and leave the area safely." Sunderland AFC chief executive Steve Walton added: "Whilst the Stadium of Light pitch is playable at present and the Stadium itself is also safe we must defer to the expertise of the Safety Advisory Group regarding other factors such as travel conditions. "The consensus of the group is that it would present a significant safety risk to go ahead with the game and we are in full support of that judgement. There can be no compromise when the safety of supporters, staff and other personnel is at stake." A revised date for the fixture will be announced in due course and supporters are advised that tickets will remain valid for the rearranged game.
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