Whelan fears season could be extended

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Wigan chairman Dave Whelan believes the Barclays Premier League season may have to be extended following the recent spate of postponements due to bad weather.

Whelan's club were forced to call off their home fixture against Aston Villa at the last minute on Saturday after a problem developed with the undersoil heating - the second time in three weeks that they have had to postpone a game at the DW Stadium.

The visit of Bolton just before Christmas also fell victim to the weather and last weekend's Premier League schedule was almost completely wiped out by snow and ice, with only Arsenal and Birmingham's games going ahead.

Fixture congestion in the weeks to come looks set to be an inevitable consequence of the many postponements, and Whelan believes that prolonging the campaign may be the only way to cope with the problem.

"What I think will happen is the Premier League will extend the season for an extra week or so," Whelan told the Wigan Evening Post.

"I think it is an absolute must, because games are piling up for everybody at the moment.

"And I would expect the Premier League and also the Football League to have a look at that.

"Some of these teams are also still in the Carling Cup, the FA Cup and also in Europe, and it's going to be a nightmare for them if they don't look to extend the season a little bit longer."

Whelan was disappointed to see Saturday's game called off but felt referee Stuart Attwell could not make any other decision.

"Sometimes you just have to accept these things," Whelan said.

"It's not so much a financial consideration, because of course the game gets played again.

"But we had spent in the region of £8,000-£10,000 clearing the snow away from the surrounding car parks and the roads.

"It's just disappointing to lose the game when you've tried so hard."

Manager Roberto Martinez was also frustrated to see the game postponed after club officials had worked so hard to try to ensure it went ahead.

"The club has worked so hard in these freak weather conditions to make the area surrounding the stadium safe," Martinez said.

"I have to congratulate our safety team at the stadium, who worked tirelessly to try and clear the area of ice and snow."