Boxing Day football affected by spike in COVID-19 cases: Blackpool vs Rochdale latest to be called off

Rochdale’s League One match at Blackpool is the latest Boxing Day fixture to be called off due to fresh coronavirus cases.

The EFL confirmed the match was suspended on Christmas Day after Rochdale informed league organisers they would be unable to fulfil the fixture “following a recent positive COVID-19 test”.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the game will now be opened as part of EFL regulations, with a rearranged fixture date to be confirmed “in due course”.

Rochdale vs ‘Boro postponed

Rotherham’s Sky Bet Championship match against Middlesbrough on Boxing Day was also postponed on Wednesday because of more confirmed Covid-19 cases.

The Millers had already seen their home fixture against relegation rivals Derby on Saturday called off after one player tested positive for coronavirus and other squad members showed symptoms.

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Rotherham confirmed “a number of further positive cases of Covid-19” within the first-team squad meant the club were also now unable to fulfil the Boxing Day fixture at the Riverside Stadium.

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A statement on Rotherham’s official website read: “Following a number of further positive cases of Covid-19 confirmed last night within the Rotherham United first-team squad, we have reluctantly – but with the safety of our players and staff at the forefront of our minds – informed the EFL and our opponents, Middlesbrough, that we will be unable to fulfil our Boxing Day fixture.

Portsmouth’s next two games called off

Meanwhile, Portsmouth’s next two Sky Bet League One fixtures have been postponed due to five confirmed cases of Covid-19.

League leaders Pompey were due to host Swindon on Boxing Day before a trip Bristol Rovers on December 29.

The club announced the positive tests affect members of playing and backroom staff, including defender Jack Whatmough, who missed Friday’s win at Hull after feeling unwell.

A statement from the English Football League read: “The club informed the EFL that they would be unable to fulfil the fixtures following recent positive Covid-19 tests and the requirement for players and staff to self-isolate as per
EFL and Government guidelines in order to mitigate against the risk of further infection.

“Revised dates for the rearranged fixtures will be confirmed in due course.”

Hull City’s Sky Bet League One fixture at Sunderland on Boxing Day is another casualty while their home game against Lincoln City on December 29 was postponed on Thursday.

Boxing Day Games Off

Championship:

Bournemouth vs Millwall

Middlesbrough vs Rotherham United

League One:

Gillingham vs Peterborough United

Ipswich Town vs Northampton Town

Portsmouth vs Swindon Town

Sunderland vs Hull City

Blackpool vs Rochdale

December 29 Games Off

Championship:

Millwall vs Watford

League One:

Peterborough United vs Charlton Athletic

Bristol Rovers vs Portsmouth

Hull City vs Lincoln City

AFC Wimbledon vs Ipswich Town

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