Steve Evans: Gillingham boss accuses EFL after no Covid tests for Fleetwood

Gillingham boss Steve Evans
Steve Evans (second from left) has been Gillingham boss since May 2019

Gillingham manager Steve Evans has accused the English Football League of a "dereliction of duty" after Fleetwood players were not tested for Covid-19.

Gillingham lost 2-0 at home to Fleetwood on Saturday, four days after Joey Barton's side played Accrington.

Following that game, eight Stanley players tested positive.

"You cannot send them (Fleetwood) from a tier three area without a test and put hotels and everyone on that pitch at risk," Evans told BBC Radio Kent.

"That's why the benches were separated, because I insisted on it. Everyone was at risk in this stadium today.

"In my opinion, and the professional medical opinion at the club, there would have been Covid off that team coach today or a probability of it."

Barton said Fleetwood followed the coronavirus guidelines prior to the match.

Evans, 57, said: "If any Fleetwood players test positive in the next three or four days, people on the Football League board should resign immediately.

"We've had the Accrington situation on Tuesday. The league could have done something about it. What did they do? Absolutely nothing.

"Fleetwood and Joey have a responsibility (to get their players tested). We don't get tested any more. We've not been tested, other than individual players when they've got symptoms, since the Thursday before the start of the season. That's neglect of duty from the Football League.

"I hope I'm not coughing and spluttering on Monday because I'm the person in the ground with the biggest problem - nearly 60 and overweight."

Accrington's League One game against Bristol Rovers on Saturday was postponed after they told the EFL they were "unable the safely fulfil" the fixture. Oxford United's game at Swindon was called off for similar reasons.

The BBC understands EFL advisors discussed the situation with medical staff at Gillingham and Fleetwood before the game and it was decided there was no reason why the game could not go ahead safely given Government guidelines and protocols were being followed.

Barton said: "The nonsense had begun even before the game - they were trying to get it called off this morning, When I heard that I thought 'great, you've just done my team talk for me'.

"We've got to comply with Covid protocols but we do so in as respectful a manner as we can with the opposition. Our protocols have been excellent.

"We've done everything we can to protect the wellbeing of everybody. Yes, we haven't been tested, but we follow every single procedure."

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