Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Monday December 21 2009
Wigan Athletic Vs Bolton Wanderers game scheduled for tonight, Monday 21/12/09 has been cancelled for safety reasons.
The pitch is playable but approach roads to the stadium, the car parks and road around the ground are reminiscent of a skating rink and spectator safety has forced the club to take the decision to call the game off.
The club have issued a statement:
MATCH FROZEN OFF
Wigan Athletic have announced that tonight's Barclays Premier League match against Bolton Wanderers has reluctantly been postponed, following consultation with the police and the club's safety team.
Following a thorough inspection, it was felt that the areas around the stadium, despite the best efforts of Wigan Athletic and Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council, are deemed not safe for the public.
The Police and Met Office have issued severe weather warnings for the rest of the day, and are advising essential journeys only should be carried out. The club is duty bound to abide by this advice.
The club wishes to apologise to all its supporters, and to the supporters of Bolton Wanderers, but their safety is of paramount importance.
The club stress that every effort has been made to ensure the game could go ahead.
The DW Stadium pitch and the stadium itself are in perfect condition, after the ground staff and stadium staff worked throughout the weekend, with the undersoil heating being switched on for the last 48 hours and the pitch being covered to protect against the snow and ice.
The club and Wigan Metro also undertook extensive gritting on the roads directly around the stadium, much of this at the club's own expense. However, these areas are actually equally as precarious as the untreated areas, due to the freezing conditions last night and into today..
The club wishes to put on record its thanks to the council for its help in this matter.
With a mile of private roads and ten acres of car parks to maintain, much of which are still under ice, and with weather forecasts predicting a temperature drop down to minus 6 degrees tonight, the collective decision between the club and the police has unfortunately been made to postpone the match.
There are also further issues the club wish to be made public.
Several of the DW Stadium car parks have steep gradients, which despite extensive gritting, cannot be made safe.
To comply with Premier League regulations, the club require a certain number of safety stewards to be in attendance at matches, and with the roads around the region being so hazardous, the club cannot guarantee that all the staff will be able to arrive safely prior to the kick off.
The club has major concerns about the homeward journey of both staff and supporters
The Police had intended to use their mounted division for the game. However, due to the conditions underfoot around the stadium, it was decided to cancel the mounted department.
The club are concerned for the safety of their disabled supporters. The car park allocated for our disabled fans is completely iced over, and despite the club's best efforts, they cannot get it gritted. The highways are being prioritised for gritting.
All tickets will be valid for the rearranged date, when an announcement is made. However, refunds are also available, via the Ticket Office.
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Date:Monday December 21 2009
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