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16th Feb 2022

Non-league sides’ war of cancellations intensifies as chairman lets rip

Daniel Brown

The match has been postponed at late notice twice

Notts County and Dover Athletic have been involved in a war of words once again after their National League fixture was postponed for a second time.

The game at the Crabble Athletic Ground was called off five hours before kick-off on Tuesday, despite the pitch passing an inspection at midday.

County were understandably frustrated with the situation, especially considering the original match had also been cancelled, at even shorter notice.

When the original tie, scheduled for January 8, was cancelled, Magpies’ boss Ian Burchnall labelled the decision a “disgrace” due to a lack of information given to travelling supporters.

Now, the two National League sides have been involved in another spat after the midweek game was once again called off at late notice.

However, Dover’s chairman Jim Parmenter has claimed that it was National League who called the game off and said he would be lodging a complaint against the league.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said.

“It’s inconceivable to me that somebody sitting in an office in London can call a game off where the pitch has just been inspected by a referee and has been passed as playable.

“It was passed as easily playable and at 2.15pm the game is called off by somebody sitting in an office in London in conjunction with Mark Ives, the general manager of the National League.

“One minute they are charging and fining us for not completing fixtures, the next they are calling off fixtures unnecessarily to prevent us from completing fixtures.

“This can only be due to undue pressure from Notts County on the authorities.

“We had the pitch inspected by a referee. They said it was due to the weather forecast.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and we will be making a formal complaint about this. I’ve never known a game called off before anywhere because of a weather forecast and a perception of what might happen in five to six hours’ time.

“There are no hurricanes forecast – it’s a rain shower.”

Following the announcement that the match had been postponed, County released a 600-word statement on their club website addressing the situation.

The club stated: “It is hugely disappointing and frustrating to once again be addressing issues regarding a postponed trip to Dover, not least due to the inconvenience and cost to supporters – many of whom had set off on the understanding that the Crabble Athletic Ground pitch was ‘perfectly playable’.”

The statement added that “Dover’s communication to us following the inspection was either misjudged or misleading.”

The National League said the decision to postpone the match would have rested with the match referee, with a new date yet to be announced.

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