Sunderland v Accrington: What could happen next with the abandoned fixture

Sunderland saw their League One clash at Accrington Stanley abandoned today - but what could happen next with the fixture?

Saturday, 8th December 2018, 4:41 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th December 2018, 5:00 pm
What will happen the next with the abandoned fixture?

72 minutes were played when Oliver Langford halted proceedings with torrential rain causing the Wham Stadium to be deemed unplayable.

The Black Cats were drawing 1-1 with their hosts at that points - Chris Maguire having found the net - and there is a chance that such a result could stand.

EFL rules state that it is at the discretion of the league's board what happens when fixtures are abandoned - meaning they could order that the result stands.

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It has been a long-standing myth that fixtures that reach a certain duration are automatically forced to count as a completed fixture, but the reality is that it is all down to the EFL board.

Rule 33.2 states that "Any League Match which from any cause whatever falls short of 90 (ninety) minutes’ duration may be ordered to count as a completed fixture or be replayed in full or in part on whatever terms and conditions the Board shall in their absolute discretion determine and shall be played in compliance with these Regulations and the Football Association Rules respectively and under the Laws of the Game as approved by the International Football Association Board”.

The board, therefore, could theoretically order that the result stands, but such a decision has not been reached in several years.

Instead, a far more likely - and the expected - resolution is that the fixture will be ordered to be replayed.

This is standard course when fixtures are abandoned and it is now anticipated that the Black Cats will once again have to make the journey to Lancashire to replay the fixture.

Once the EFL board orders the fixture to be replayed, the two clubs will have to settle on a date - which will likely be in midweek.

Sunderland already have something of a backlog of fixtures, owing to their progression in the Checkatrade Trophy and FA Cup and the fact the scheduled fixture with Blackpool earlier in the season was postponed due to international call-ups.

EFL rules also dictate that the home club must have a policy in place regarding refunds when a fixture is abandoned.

This could prove a positive for any Sunderland fans who made the journey, as they should be entitled to some form of refund on their ticket purchase if they are unable to make the rearranged fixture.