LATEST NEWS: Football matches cancelled after bad weather

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PLAYERS, officials and spectators have been told amateur league football matches cannot go ahead this weekend after bad weather hit pitches in Sunderland.

Sunderland City Council staff have been inspecting ground conditions at playing fields across the city through yesterday and today.

Council teams do not expect pitches to be free of snow and ice in time for matches to take place, with freezing temperatures also forecast for this weekend.

Councillor Mel Speding, the council’s Cabinet Secretary, said: “We continue to work hard at maintaining and improving drainage of pitches in difficult financial circumstances.

“However, playing on many of the pitches this weekend isn’t going to improve their condition. We’re advising now that surfaces are simply just not playable.”

Coun Speding, who is also a divisional representative with the Durham County Football Association Limited and Chairs the County Youth Committee, said playing on the pitches could only make matters worse.

He said: “Surfaces and grounds that might be just passable now are likely to deteriorate if they are played on.

“City council staff are advising all league officials.”