Walsall’s League Two match against Swindon Town was postponed on Saturday due to a frozen pitch at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.
Town fans were quick to criticise the home side’s decision. Some mocked the groundsmen for not getting the game on, while others took the cynical approach that Walsall never wanted the game to go ahead.
Swindon fan James Spencer tweeted: ”Poundland by name, Poundland by nature. If this was at the County Ground, in the same conditions, the game would be on.”
While season ticket holder Rajan Hothi told Park Life Sport: ”It’s a disgrace! I’d already made the trip to Birmingham so I can’t get a refund on my train ticket. £30 down the drain because [Walsall] are too scared to play us.”
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The Saddlers are dealing with injuries at the moment, while top scorer Danny Johnson was recalled by Mansfield in the January transfer window.
It would make sense for Michael Flynn’s side to want the game to be rescheduled, but we will never know whether that had a part to play in the decision.
It begs the question, should it be the home team’s decision?
Do EFL need to change postponement process?
First of all, the decision to call off Saturday’s game was made at 09:20am.
Some Swindon fans had already set off on their way to Walsall – likely heading for the ‘away day’ pub in Birmingham – but the majority of fans would have been informed in plenty of time. The Saddlers groundsmen deserve credit for that.
Some fans complained that Walsall could have waited to see if the pitch would thaw out, but those fans would have complained even more had it been called off while travelling.
Perhaps the EFL should impose a rule that a decision has to be made before 10am going forward.
The bigger issue here is how the postponement decisions are made. In competitive sport, teams can be expected to seek an advantage in any possible way – either morally or immorally.
The easiest way to get around this would be to make it the referee’s decision, not the club’s. This would involve the referee getting to the stadium much earlier than usual, which they may not be pleased about, but it seems the only way to ensure an unbiased decision.
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