Fixture backlog mounts up

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The Independent Online
Snow again brought disruption to yesterday's sporting programme with football and racing the main victims. Twelve of last night's 30 Endsleigh League fixtures and all four Scottish League games were postponed.

Hull City's match with Chesterfield was called off in the interests of public safety after gale force winds caused damage to the roof of the main stand. John Cooper, the Boothferry Park stadium manager, said: "Because of the high winds we have been unable to go up on the roof and remove the debris. Ironically, the pitch would have been playable."

The race meetings at Nottingham and Catterick were abandoned and the only racing in England was on the all-weather surface at Lingfield. The similar track at Wolverhampton will provide the only action today.

England's rugby union players were also frustrated by the weather when last night's training session at Marlow was cancelled because conditions made it difficult for squad members to travel to the ground.

Attempts to reschedule rugby union matches have run into trouble. Lancashire officials have accused the Rugby Football Union of a breaking a "gentleman's agreement" by fixing Courage League matches on dates which clash with the latter stages of the CIS Insurance County Championship.

Lancashire entertain Warwickshire in the semi-final at Preston on 9 March, but now find that their selection options could be limited by new club commitments. "We were led to believe that the structured season would leave the championship free from club commitments," Lancashire's chairman, Ken Jones, said.

County final day - 20 April - has also been designated for rearranged club matches.

However, the RFU has problems with the fixture backlog growing and only two spare Saturdays in the spring available, 9 March and 20 April.

The weather problems are not confined to England. The European Super Cup second leg between Ajax and Real Zaragoza in Amsterdam had to be postponed because of a frozen pitch.

In Spain, the men's combined downhill race at the World Skiing Championships, postponed from Monday because of high winds, was put off again because of fog, wind and snow.

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