Bolton Wanderers: Doncaster Rovers match postponed over welfare concerns

Bolton Wanderers
Bolton say tickets for Tuesday's match will be valid for the rearranged fixture and refunds are available on request via their ticket office

Bolton have postponed Tuesday's League One match against Doncaster, amid welfare concerns for younger players.

Wanderers, who are in administration, fielded just three senior outfield players at Tranmere on Saturday.

"Whilst the threat of further sanctions is obvious, nothing can be allowed to impact on the welfare of such a young group," a club statement said.

The English Football League and Doncaster said they were unaware of the decision before Bolton's announcement.

Bolton manager Phil Parkinson said after the 5-0 loss to Tranmere that he had contacted the EFL to voice his concerns about player welfare.

Luke Murphy, Jason Lowe and James Weir were the only senior outfield players available for the game at Prenton Park, a week after a starting XI with an average age of 19 drew 0-0 with Coventry.

Bolton's statement added: "With so many senior players injured or unavailable, the squad has performed heroically."

EFL and Doncaster 'not consulted' over postponement

Wanderers announced they were postponing Tuesday's 20:00 BST kick-off with just over 28 hours notice.

The EFL said it "understands the challenging position the club currently finds itself in whilst negotiations continue over its purchase".

The league added: "However, it would have expected the club to have first interfaced with the EFL, giving it an opportunity to consider the application to postpone, and consulted with the club's opposition Doncaster Rovers before making a public announcement.

"The EFL remains acutely aware of the ongoing risks this challenging and complex situation has to the integrity of the competition."

A Doncaster statement said:external-link "Bolton Wanderers have postponed this game without the agreement of Rovers or the EFL, and we were surprised to learn of the news via Bolton's social media.

"We have a lot of sympathy for Bolton's plight, but we've prepared for this game as normal and fully expected it to go ahead.

"We will work with the EFL to understand this situation and keep supporters as informed as we can when we are able to say more."

Wanderers added later on Monday that tickets "will be valid when the game has been rearranged", as well as offering refunds and apologising "for any inconvenience this has caused" in a further statement.external-link

Further delay to Football Ventures takeover

Wanderers are currently awaiting the completion of a takeover by Football Ventures.

Laurence Bassini, who failed with his own bid to buy the club before it went into administration, was awarded a court order blocking the sale on 8 August.

That was amended and adjourned six days later, allowing a takeover to go through, but it is yet to be completed.

"It is with real regret and a deepening sense of frustration that we have been forced to postpone tomorrow's fixture," the club's administrators added.external-link

"But after consultation with the club's medical staff, it is obvious that to call on them for another match without an adequate break would be detrimental to both their welfare and development, which cannot be allowed.

"Following recent events, the legal position of various parties has altered which means a delay in completion [of the club's takeover]. In this situation, it is very difficult to attract available players to the club.

"I will be discussing the implications with the EFL but, in the meantime, I would call on all parties involved with the acquisition of the club and hotel to end this intolerable delay and secure once and for all the future of Bolton Wanderers."

The Trotters' final game of the 2018-19 season against Brentford was postponed after Wanderers' players refused to play because of unpaid wages.