The story of the Covid-19 crisis at Doncaster Rovers which has seen four matches postponed

Doncaster Rovers’ last two games were postponed and so are their next two after Covid-19 hit the squad.

Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 12:00 pm

Here, we answer some of the questions over how they came to be in this situation and what happens next.

What led to the postponement of the Boxing Day fixture against Accrington Stanley?

Two Rovers players began to show symptoms of coronavirus and subsequently tested positive between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

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The two positive tests were enough to call off the fixture due to safety fears, with the EFL granting permission to do so.

Why was only one fixture called off at that time?

With only two confirmed cases by Boxing Day morning, Rovers wished to avoid jumping to conclusions.

The club were keen to assess the full scope of the problem and determine whether individuals would need to isolate and whether others had contracted the virus.

What happened between calling off the Accrington fixture and postponing the next three matches?

The rest of the squad and coaching staff were all tested for Covid-19

Meanwhile, the NHS Track and Trace system began informing individuals of the need to self-isolate after coming into contact with a confirmed case of the virus.

Another player and a member of the backroom staff were confirmed as having contracted Covid-19 after taking tests prior to the whole squad testing.

An insider at the club said ‘the picture was changing very quickly.’

Throughout this period, Rovers were in contact with the EFL and the opposition clubs affected to inform them of the situation.

The test results arrived at the club on Monday evening revealing two more players had contracted the virus.

The EFL was informed and the green light given to postpone the fixtures against Fleetwood, Peterborough and Oxford as they fell within the required period for isolation.

All players and staff who did not test positive for the virus joined those who had in beginning a ten day isolation period.

When will the Rovers squad return to training?

The players are due to report back on January 5 and their first game back will be the trip to Blackburn Rovers on January 9.

Prior to the FA Cup game, the full squad will undergo Covid-19 testing on January 7 as part of the agreed procedure in the competition from the third round onwards.

What is the EFL’s stance on postponing matches and will there be sanctions?

The EFL were agreeable with the requests to postpone matches on the basis of safety concerns.

However, an investigation will be carried out to determine whether Rovers adhered to protocols and indeed postponed the games for genuine, non-football reasons.

The EFL will also investigate whether Rovers have the correct procedures in place to ensure players and staff has the best chance of avoiding contracting Covid-19.

Fines could be issued for postponing games but it is unclear how the EFL will react to the unprecedented current situation.

When will the postponed games be played?

Rovers will travel to Peterborough on March 23 but the other matches are yet to be rearranged.

The EFL insist rearranged fixtures take place on the earliest possible date in case other games are postponed for any reason.

However, cup matches are given priority, so clubs’ obligations in those competitions will be considered, meaning the earliest possible date may not be used.

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.