Madley: "We have to think about the safety of the players"

Speaking to Valley Pass Live on Saturday, referee Bobby Madley explained his decision to postpone the Addicks' fixture against Portsmouth.

“There’s a lot of thought that goes into it," explained the official.

"It’s not just a case of showing up and the pitch is a bit wet. It’s more complicated this season with COVID and the amount.

“I arrived at 12:40pm and the club made it clear there was an issue. The ground staff took some water off, so they’ve done a good job, but I had to make sure it was safe. We had to wait to see if the water would drain through, we wanted to give Portsmouth the respect to get to look at it but it wasn’t safe, so we had to call it off.”

The second pitch inspection came an hour before kick-off and ultimately, the referee decided that the surface was not safe to play on.

“The ball wasn’t bouncing, so it wasn’t safe," he explained.

“The players expect the bounce and when they’re doing that and it doesn’t bounce, the players may dive in and take their opponents knee out. I’ve travelled down here and stayed in a hotel so of course we want the game to go on, but we have to take into account the safety.”

“Both managers are professionals and can look at the safety of the players, it makes it an easier job when they can understand the dangers of playing in these conditions.”

Despite the disappointment of not being able to play this afternoon, manager Lee Bowyer understood the referee’s decision.

He said: “Obviously we wanted to play the game. Preparations have gone well and we are in a good place at the moment, playing good football.

“It’s the right decision though, it’s dangerous. I’m not sure what the hold up was as there was even more rain. The most important thing is player safety, the referee has made the right decision.

“We are trying to cram games in as it is, nobody wanted it called off and we gave it as much time as we could, but the safety side is the reason why. They travelled up last night and stayed in hotels, so they’ll have to do that again. They have a lot of games so hopefully we can play it as soon as possible.”

The bad weather has not just impacted on the Charlton team today, as Bowyer explained the squad struggled to train yesterday. The manager went on to explain:

“We couldn’t train yesterday as the training pitch was waterlogged. Hopefully the training ground will have dried out a bit. It’s not like we can take them to a gym because everything is closed. We played head catch yesterday just to get running around and have a bit of a laugh, there’s not much we can do.

“We said earlier these conditions are right up my street. Unfortunately, it won’t happen today. We go home and go again next week.”

When asked what the postponement means for the manager’s plans this afternoon, Bowyer joked “I think I’ll go feed the ducks now!”

The game has now been rearranged for Tuesday, February 2nd (7pm).

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