Storm Babet hits first English match as Friday’s Championship fixture between Rotherham and Ipswich is postponed just three hours before kick-off due to flooding and safety concerns
- Rotherham’s game with Ipswich on Friday was due to be shown on Sky Sports
- Areas around the New York Stadium flooded after the River Don burst its banks
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Rotherham’s Championship game with Ipswich on Friday has been postponed due to Storm Babet.
The area has been hit with torrential rain over the last 24 hours and the River Don, which runs behind the AESSEAL New York Stadium has burst its banks.
That has left areas around the stadium flooded and after discussions with the Safety Advisory Group and the English Football League, the game has been called off.
There was no problem with the pitch at the stadium, with the game due to have been shown on Sky Sports.
A club statement read: ‘Rotherham United’s Sky Bet Championship fixture against Ipswich Town has been postponed on the grounds of supporter safety following discussions with representatives from the Safety Advisory Group and the EFL which took place shortly after 4:30pm on Friday.
Areas around Rotherham’s stadium flooded after the River Don burst its banks following torrential rain over the last 24 hours
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‘After the River Don – which courses around the perimeter of AESSEAL New York Stadium – burst its banks, urgent discussions between representatives from the Safety Advisory Group/Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and club safety personnel and the EFL – were held with the conclusion deeming the weather conditions and their subsequent effect on the surrounding area a danger to supporters.
‘This coupled with continued rainfall resulting in the flood waters rising and Don Street being closed to the public left the authorities with no choice but to postpone the game.
‘Throughout the day the pitch at AESSEAL New York Stadium has remained playable but with the safety of everyone attending the match at the height of our priorities, the difficult decision to postpone the fixture has been taken.
‘The decision was relayed to the EFL and our counterparts at Ipswich Town with all parties in agreement that postponing the fixture was the only possible way to ensure the safety of players, staff and supporters.
‘It goes without saying that we are obviously disappointed for supporters due to attend and those set to watch at home given the game was being broadcast live on Sky Sports.’
Two cinch Premiership matches are among six Scottish league games which have been postponed amid severe weather warnings.
Kieran McKenna’s high-flying Ipswich saw their Championship fixture called off just three hours before kick-off due to safety concerns
Aberdeen’s home match against Dundee and Motherwell’s trip to face St Johnstone have fallen foul of the storm.
The news came after a second person died in Angus as a result of the storm, which has brought floods and high winds, and after warnings of a risk to life were extended to all day Saturday as more heavy rain is forecast.
The Championship game between Arbroath and Raith Rovers, in the worst-hit area of Angus, has been called off.
Cove Rangers against Montrose has been postponed along with two games in League 2 – Elgin versus Forfar and Stenhousemuir against Peterhead.
The games all involve teams in the north east of the country and Perth and were all due to take place on Saturday.
The Scottish Professional Football League called off the games on safety grounds following discussions with police, clubs and other authorities with people being advised not to travel in large areas of the country.
SPFL chief operating officer Calum Beattie said: ‘We have been in close contact with Police Scotland and our clubs and it’s clear that we continue to face very severe weather, particularly in the north east, in the coming days.
A car flipped over and took out a power line after Storm Babet brought heavy rain in Surrey
The UK is awash with weather warnings on Friday – including a rare red weather warning covering Angus, Perthshire and Dundee on Scotland’s east coast
‘We never postpone any matches lightly, but our discussions with the emergency services left us in no doubt that this was the correct decision.’
The SPFL added that it would continue to monitor the situation involving the remaining fixtures across the country.
St Johnstone had told supporters their game was going ahead as it stood less than three hours before the wider decision was taken.
A club statement early on Friday afternoon said: ‘Whilst heavy rain has affected the local area, our dedicated ground staff and officials have been working tirelessly to ensure the pitch is in optimal condition, and we’ve taken all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both players and spectators.’
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