Eight games in 26 days for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough must visit Tottenham in their Premiership survival fight on Thursday week - just two days after their FA Cup semi-final replay against Chesterfield. The new date for the League game was agreed yesterday after police authorities in north London rejected the alternative suggestion of a Friday night kick-off.

In effect, the match has been put back 24 hours from its original date of 23 April, which had to be scrubbed after Second Division Chesterfield forced a 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough on Sunday. Middlesbrough, who start an eight-games-in-26-days finish to the season with their Coca-Cola Cup final replay against Leicester at Hillsborough tonight, backed Manchester United's plea last week to have the season extended to give their players rest between matches. But the Premier League insisted there could be no U-turn, after rejecting United's request.

Middlesbrough, like United, face four games in nine days to complete the season on 11 May. Keeping the Spurs game in the same week as the FA Cup replay was the Premier League's only alternative to an extension.

Another weekend will be lost for League fixtures on 26-27 April when top players report to their countries for the latest round of World Cup qualifiers. England play Georgia at Wembley the following Wednesday.

The Premier League and the Football League have now agreed to set up a special commission to produce a long-term skeleton fixture list - outlining all League, cup, European and international dates covering the next three seasons - to ensure as far as possible that a repeat of this season's congestion does not occur again.

David Elleray, the referee yesterday did his best to deflect growing criticism of his performance in Sunday's Middlesbrough/Chesterfield FA Cup semi-final tie.

Elleray sent one player off, awarded two penalties and was involved in a controversial incident when a Chesterfield shot - as video replays clearly showed - rebounded over the line off the crossbar. Elleray disallowed the goal because of an earlier infringement.

The Harrow schoolmaster sought to broaden the argument to the position of referees in the modern game, rather than commenting directly on the weekend's big game.

He said: "I think referees accept they come under intense scrutiny every day in the media. They have to make an honest decision with their own eyes in a very quick time, and it is not easy."

Some criticism has even come from within Elleray's own ranks, from the former World Cup referee Clive Thomas.

Thomas claimed: "The level of refereeing is so bad. Elleray would not even have made the top six on the Fifa list in my day,"

Elleray would not respond to the remarks, saying only: "I never make a comment on what Clive Thomas has to say about me or refereeing."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
i100
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (App development, SAP, interfacing)

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...

Systems Developer Technical Lead

£65000 - £70000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Energy Engineer

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy En...

Techincal Accountant-Insurance-Bank-£550/day

£475 - £550 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Technical Accountant-Insuran...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment