Referee Oliver Langford explains his decision to abandon Sunderland clash and the key factor behind it

Referee Oliver Langford says player safety was the key factor behind his decision to abandon Sunderland's clash with Accrington Stanley.

Saturday, 8th December 2018, 4:28 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th December 2018, 4:35 pm
Oliver Langford said player safety was paramount after abandoning the game at the Wham Stadium

There had been concerns as to whether the game would go ahead at all after severe rainfall in the build up to kick off.

A record attendance at the Wham Stadium were left disappointed when the players were taken from the pitch 20 minutes from the end, with the scores locked at 1-1.

But the game was becoming a farce and Langford said the two managers agreed with his call.

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“It is always a tough decision when you have to abandon the game," Langford said.

"Both managers were in agreement and it the was right decision to call time when I did.

"It is unfortunate but everyone was in total agreement and player safety was paramount..

"It was touch and go at the start," he added.

"Come 3 o'clock and in the first half conditions were OK.

"Then the heavens opened and I have never seen rain like that. It was coming down in sheets. With the score at 1-1 it was a sensible decision to make.

"I don’t want anyone getting injured and the way they were sliding round at the end and the amount of water coming up, player safety was paramount regardless of the score."

Langford had looked at the pitch at 10.30am and even at that stage, there were concerns over heavy areas of the pitch.

Langford then held a number of inspections before kick-off, with Sunderland boss Jack Ross concerned about one side of the pitch.

It looked as if the game would reach a conclusion but a horrendous downpour in the second half made that impossible.

The torrential rain continued until well after the game would have been schedule to finish.