Anger as Boro pull out of game

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The Independent Online
Blackburn Rovers do not see why they should risk catching a cold just because Middlesbrough's squad has been hit by a virus.

Rovers' caretaker manager, Tony Parkes, has called on the Premier League to punish Middlesbrough for pulling out of today's Premiership match at Ewood Park, saying they had 23 players ruled out by injury and a virus that has swept through the club.

With Boro sliding down the table and Rovers having moved out of the relegation zone, Parkes was keen to play a match that could ultimately have a bearing on the relegation issue. Parkes believes the League should award Blackburn the points when a disciplinary panel examines Middlesbrough's case, the first in the Premiership's five-season history, in the new year.

Middlesbrough's chief executive, Keith Lamb, confirmed that the club had taken the decision to call off the game without Premier League permission. He said: "There is no provision within the Premier League rules to postpone games."