Fuel shortage wipes out Sussex football matches - arguments rage over early call-offs

Midweek football matches are being called off because of the fuel shortage - but some fans and club officials are not happy over how early decisions are being made.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 2:35 pm
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 2:46 pm
Bognor took on Wingate and Finchley on Saturday - but won't now face Leatherhead on Tuesday / Picture: Martin Denyer

Bognor v Leatherhead and Kingstonian v Horsham in the Isthmian premier and Hastings v Ashford United are among games already called off after the league gave clubs the go-ahead to postpone if they felt travel was going to be difficult.

This morning, Whitehawk v Burgess Hill, Worthing v Merstham, Haywards Heath v Chichester City and Lewes v Carshalton were added to the Isthmian list of call-offs - while the SCFL said it was regrettably advising that all its midweek games should be postponed.

The postponements have not gone down well with many fans and some host clubs, who feel the decisions to call off are being made too early.

After Ashford asked for their Tuesday night visit to Hastings to be called off, Hastings CEO Billy Wood tweeted: "I don’t get why we couldn’t have waited 'til the day of the game to see if this fuel situation continues Calling it off on the Sunday to me shows @AshfordUnitedFC didn’t fancy it."

Ashford said on their website: "Unfortunately the club felt it had no other alternative due to the ongoing issues, and this decision has not been taken lightly."

Leatherhead's decision to call off their visit to Bognor, also planned for Tuesday, a number of Rocks fans hit out, saying it was ridiculous.

Lewes chairman Stuart Fuller said on Twitter: "It’s not going to get must better, if at all, in the next 48 hours. The league would be criticised for delaying a decision or not making one at all. Some clubs may use it as an excuse, for others it could be genuine. The situation isn’t good around here in SE London."

Rocks supporters' club chairman Ian Guppy tweeted: "Crazy to see Non-League games called off Sunday for Tuesday due to the "Fuel Crisis"... seems crazy to allow individual clubs to make that call? If Club A can't travel to Club B and it's 50 miles in semi-pro football then surely all games 50+ miles must be off. Baffling."

Also off is Horsham's visit to Kingstonian on Wednesday. Horsham said: "The Hornets’ scheduled match against Kingstonian, due to have been played this coming Wednesday, has been postponed due to the current fuel shortage.

"The decision to call off the game was taken after the League contacted all clubs earlier this afternoon, giving them the option of postponing the midweek fixtures amid anticipated difficulties in getting players, officials and supporters to games. Details on a rescheduled date will be announced in due course."

The SCFL issued a statement saying: "In view of the ongoing, and escalating current fuel shortage, SCFL has reluctantly decided that ALL FIXTURES scheduled for Tuesday & Wednesday evening should be POSTPONED.

"The situation will continue to be reviewed on daily basis - and any decision regarding U23 games on Thursday will be made nearer the time.

"All clubs are required to ensure that match officials are fully aware. - all fixtures will be rescheduled at earliest opportunity."

This story will be updated with any further news of games being called off. If your club's game is off email [email protected] for this to be publicised.