Cold weather puts fixtures on ice again

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The Independent Online

Adverse weather conditions accounted for the postponement of a host of major sporting events for the second weekend running.

After seven Premier League games were called off last weekend – including the eagerly-anticipated meeting between Chelsea and Manchester United – in the interests of spectator safety, two top-flight Boxing Day games were postponed as well as other sporting action.

Blackpool's home game with Liverpool was postponed due to a frozen pitch at Bloomfield Road, with hovering around -3C at the Lancashire ground. The Tangerines and Roy Hodgson's side have been rescheduled to meet on Wednesday 12 January.

Hazardous conditions also afflicted Goodison Park as Everton's game with Birmingham City was postponed. An Everton statement said that there were "several miles of frozen pipes, many of which burst during the course of Christmas Day night," adding that because of "rapidly deteriorating conditions" in the interests "of safety and hygiene" the game was called off. A new date for the fixture has yet to be announced.

Despite five games in the Championship being postponed, seven matches went ahead as planned.

However, only one game survived the snow and ice in League One – Huddersfield's home defeat by Hartlepool – and a solitary match kicked off in League Two: Wycombe's win against Hereford.

Rugby Union's Aviva Premiership schedule was also badly affected. Four games were postponed, including Gloucester's tie with Northampton. "It's desperately disappointing, as Sunday was going to be a sell-out and we were all looking forward to a terrific game of rugby," said the managing director of Gloucester Ken Nottage.

Newcastle versus Leeds will now be played today, as will Connacht's Magner's League match against Munster.

In Rugby League, the friendly between Castleford Tigers and Bradford Bulls was also postponed.

In racing, the King George VI Chase at Kempton has been moved to 15 January and the Welsh National to 8 January. Boxing Day cards at Fontwell, Huntingdon, Wincanton and Wetherby were all cancelled. Tomorrow's meeting at Catterick and Wednesday's meeting at Kelso have both been abandoned.


Premier League

Blackpool v Liverpool, Everton v Birmingham


Crystal Palace v Norwich, Derby v Doncaster, Middlesbrough v Nottingham Forest, Scunthorpe v Preston, Ipswich v Watford

Rugby Union

Bath v Exeter, Gloucester v Northampton, Newcastle v Leeds, Connacht v Munster, Newport-Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Ospreys v Scarlets

Racing: Kempton, Welsh National