Doncaster Rovers: Independent panel to decide fate of Bolton Wanderers game

Doncaster Rovers are awaiting the verdict on the controversial postponement of the fixture at Bolton Wanderers.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 11:36 am
University of Bolton Stadium

An independent panel met on Thursday to hear the cases of both clubs and will deliberate their verdict on the postponement.

Rovers were set to travel to the University of Bolton Stadium on August 20 only for then-troubled Wanderers to unilaterally call off the game with less than 36 hours’ notice.

It is understood that the EFL board have been keen for the game to be replayed due to a stance that points should be earned on the pitch and not in the boardroom.

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However, Rovers have been steadfast in their belief that the game should be awarded to them, regardless of any punishment handed down to Bolton, and have pushed back against the EFL on their standing.

The decision therefore has been placed at the hands of the independent panel who will also determine the fate of Bolton in regards to the fixture against Brentford in the Championship last season which was also not played.

Rovers made representations to the EFL in the aftermath of the postponement, making clear their belief that Bolton forfeited the fixture with their actions. They also stated that if the game was ordered to be replayed, then they would hope Bolton would be forced to select a side from the players available at the time.

While Bolton were understood to have made the EFL aware of their hope to postpone the fixture, there was no such dialogue with Rovers, who discovered on social media that the Lancashire club had made the decision.

Bolton’s decision to cancel the fixture centred on the players they had at their disposal in the build-up.

Complications over an on-going takeover meant the club were unable to sign players over the summer and, at the time of Rovers’ scheduled visit, only had four players aged 21 or over available for selection.

Bolton had topped up matchday XIs and squads with youth team players, leading then-manager Phil Parkinson to cite welfare issues during a busy period.

Academy guidelines set by the Premier League urge clubs to arrange youth team fixtures on Saturdays to guard against injury where possible. These were cited within Bolton’s declaration of their postponement of the fixture.