Football: Costly frost for Blues

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The Independent Online
Birmingham City were yesterday counting the cost of having a third game postponed in the space of a fortnight. City have lost pounds 60,000 in television revenue after yesterday's home game with Tranmere Rovers - due to be shown live on Central TV - was postponed because of a frozen pitch.

The First Division club are also now heading for a fixture pile-up later in the season at a time when they will be looking to sustain a promotion challenge. In addition to the Tranmere game, the match at Oldham Athletic on Boxing Day met the same fate, while the game at West Bromwich Albion two weeks ago was postponed through players being required for World Cup duty with Wales.

Alan Jones, the Birmingham company secretary, said: "From a financial point of view, the only money we will have to kick into touch is the television money because the rest can be recouped when the game is replayed. This was one of our games where we were charging only pounds 5 a head and most of the tickets for the game had already been sold.

"But the worrying thing is the potential problems we may have with fixtures later in the season."

Jones insisted they had taken adequate precautions for the Tranmere match. He said: "We had covers across the pitch which could cope with up to minus seven degrees but the frost level was actually minus 10 - way above what was forecast - and there was as much frost underneath the covers as on the top."