The Murray Gates

Reading fixture postponed

by Kate Smith

Saturday's game called off.

The Barclays Premier League fixture between Sunderland and Reading was postponed at 1.40pm today at the Stadium of Light, due to a heavily-water logged pitch.

Referee Neil Swarbrick and his team of officials undertook a pitch inspection following torrential overnight rain on Wearside, which carried on throughout the morning of the game.

It was deemed that the extreme conditions had made the playing surface dangerous for players and following consultation between the referee and SAFC Safety Officer Paul Weir, the decision was taken to postpone the game on safety grounds.

SAFC Chief Executive Margaret Byrne said: “Naturally everyone is hugely disappointed that our opening game of the season could not go ahead as planned. I would like to express my sincere apologies to those fans, both home and away, who have travelled such distances to support their respective teams and had to go home disappointed. I would also like to thank the manager, players and officials from Reading for their understanding in this matter.

“The club has invested a significant sum into pitchworks over the summer months and we are confident that it is in first-class condition. We will however meet with our pitch consultants immediately to carry out a full analysis of today’s events.”

SAFC Facilities Manager, Peter Weymes added: “We carefully monitor weather forecasts in the days leading up to home games and whilst rain was predicted, the exceptional and unseasonal nature of the downpours was not anticipated by the weather services.”

An announcement regarding a date for the rearranged fixture will be made in due course and all tickets purchased remain valid.