More snow forecast after weekend of postponements

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The Independent Online

Sport could be facing a winter of discontent after bad weather forced the postponement of events across the country this weekend. More bad weather is forecast for this week, meaning the traditional Boxing Day football fixtures, for example, could be at risk. Further snow in the New Year could leave to a fixture pile-up in the spring.

Premier League football was the worst affected although much of the Football League calendar went ahead as planned. Rugby union and horse racing were also disrupted.

The most high-profile damage was done to the Premier League fixtures, where only two games were played. Some cancellations were due to unplayable conditions while others, such as that of Chelsea's home tie with Manchester United, were postponed in the interests of supporter safety.

The Football League programme, by contrast, was relatively unscathed. There were seven games played in the Championship on Saturday. However, the completion of Ipswich Town's 3-0 win over Leicester City was controversial. There was a 17-minute break in the second half to allow for the lines on the pitch to be cleared, and Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson expressed his disappointment that referee Stuart Attwell allowed the game to continue. "You go skiing on snow, not play football," said Eriksson. "Who wants to see a game in conditions like that? It was being shown worldwide but was very bad PR for football."

Rugby union was also disrupted. Newcastle Falcons' 26-24 win over Exeter in the Challenge Cup was moved from Kingston Park to Netherdale, in Galashiels in Scotland. In the Heineken Cup, Glasgow's match in Toulouse was cancelled yesterday due to the non-arrival of Glasgow's kit the day after it was scheduled to be played.

Racing at Kempton and Carlisle was cancelled yesterday, as have today's meetings at Ffos Las and Taunton.

Major events called off



Arsenal v Stoke; Birmingham v Newcastle; Liverpool v Fulham; Wigan v Aston Villa; Blackpool v Tottenham; Chelsea v Man Utd; West Bromwich v Wolverhampton.


Cardiff v Burnley; Millwall v Barnsley; Portsmouth v Scunthorpe; Watford v Preston. 11 games off in League One.

All 12 games off in League Two.

Rugby union


Toulouse v Glasgow; Edinburgh v Castres.

Horse racing

Carlisle; Kempton; Navan; Thurles; Ascot; Haydock; Lingfield; Newcastle.