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Sunderland's League One rivals AFC Wimbledon call on EFL to stamp down on clubs cancelling games due to Covid-19 amid 'fixture chaos' for Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth, Ipswich Town & Co

Sunderland’s League One rivals AFC Wimbledon have written to the EFL demanding they stamp down on clubs cancelling games amid fears of fixture chaos.

Monday, 27th December 2021, 11:42 am

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In a lengthy letter to league bosses, AFC Wimbledon have outlined their position having had a number of games postponed.

They state they have gone ‘gone above and beyond’ to try and minimise the impact of Covid-19 on their squad and have called on the EFL to take a ‘stronger stance’ going forward and to ensure – where possible and safe to do so – games go ahead as planned.

A club statement read: “Today we should have been playing Charlton in an exciting London derby everyone was looking forward to.

AFC Wimbledon have demanded action. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

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“Eight days earlier we should have welcomed Portsmouth to The Cherry Red Records Stadium for another cracking League One encounter.

“Instead both games were cancelled by the EFL because both visiting clubs were struck by Covid and couldn’t field enough first-team players.

“The pandemic certainly takes no prisoners but ever since it struck we have taken exhaustive measures to protect our players and ensure we were always able to field a starting XI.

“We have managed to do that on a fraction of the resources enjoyed by many of the teams in our division - and yet now we are left with cancelled games and fixture chaos. Which puts greater strain on our already depleted squad.

“As a result of this we have sent a strongly-worded letter to the EFL spelling out how we feel - and calling on them, as our governing body, to take a much stronger stance going forward.”

These are some of the key points from the letter to the EFL:

"We are writing to openly express our disappointment over the recent spate of matches that member clubs have been unable to fulfil.

“We also want to take this opportunity to call on the EFL to undertake its due processes and implement the strongest-possible measures to ensure that - where a club is able to fulfil a fixture - it does so.

“Further, where it is found that a club was unable to fulfil a fixture, they must be held to account for all decisions which led to that position.

“We would also like to advocate for the reintroduction of 5 substitutions per match. With a congested fixture calendar now a guarantee for all clubs, we would wish to have every tool available to us in order to manage our squad best.”

The letter then outlined the various measures AFC Wimbledon have taken to avoid Covid-19 impacting their squad, outlining the level of testing they have been conducting.

The letter ended with: “It just doesn’t sit right that, having gone above and beyond our means to ensure matches can be fulfilled, we will now be at a disadvantage - trying to navigate a very congested second half of the season with a small squad.

“Meanwhile, clubs with larger squads will have the upper hand, having been provided the opportunity to take a more relaxed approach knowing there will be no penalties for conduct that sits outside of the protocols.”

Sunderland have so far managed to avoid any Covid-19 postponements, they faced Doncaster Rovers on Monday with Sheffield Wednesday due to visit Wearside on Thursday evening.

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