Colchester United Chairman Robbie Cowling has issued the following statement, after the game against Tranmere was called off.
I made the very late decision at 1.15pm today to call off the game against Tranmere Rovers due to there being COVID-19 issues in both squads.
Our COVID issues began this week when Callum Harriot tested positive. I called Tranmere yesterday, (Friday), out of courtesy to make them aware of our situation.
At that point, we accepted we had a slightly weakened squad but we were happy to go ahead and play the game.
This morning, (Saturday), I received a call from Tranmere’s club secretary, Tim Roberts, to warn us that several Tranmere players had woken up showing symptoms of COVID-19.
The Tranmere players have yet to be tested and when they are they might be all negative, but we have to assume some will be positive.
Therefore, weighing up the facts that COVID-19 was present in both squads, that the protocols we have been following were not designed for the latest variant of COVID-19 and that so many of the hospitals in this region and in particular their ICU units are at capacity, I didn’t think it was wise to allow the game to go ahead.
It was a tough decision with both sets of players already at the stadium but their safety had to be my number one consideration.
All of the players in the EFL are to be tested on Monday and hopefully cases of COVID-19 in football clubs are not as widespread as it appears but I fear they may be and tougher decisions lie ahead.