Bolton have been criticised after announcing the postponement of Tuesday’s League One game with Doncaster amid welfare concerns for their young squad.
Both the EFL and their opponents have reacted angrily to the manner in which the Trotters have cancelled the fixture via a statement which was issued via the club’s administrators.
In it, Bolton, who are currently in administration and have been forced to field largely youth team players so far this season, said subjecting them to another game would be “detrimental to their welfare and development.”
In a statement, the EFL said: “[We] would have expected the club to have first interfaced with the EFL, giving it an opportunity to consider the application to postpone, and consulted with the club’s opposition, Doncaster Rovers, before making a public announcement.”
And whilst sending sympathy for Bolton’s plight, Doncaster chief executive Gavin Baldwin also expressed frustration at the manner of the apparent postponement.
Baldwin said: “Bolton Wanderers have postponed this game without the agreement of Rovers or the EFL, and we were surprised to learn of the news via Bolton’s social media.
“We have a lot of sympathy for Bolton’s plight, but we’ve prepared for this game as normal and fully expected it to go ahead.
“We will work with the EFL to understand this situation and keep supporters as informed as we can when we are able to say more.”
Wanderers are awaiting the completion of a takeover by Football Ventures which had been blocked by a court order issued by Laurence Bassini, who had tried to buy the club earlier this year.
Bolton boss Phil Parkinson was forced to name the youngest team in the club’s history in their goalless draw against Coventry on August 10, and saw his side thrashed 5-0 at Tranmere on Saturday.
Bolton said in their statement: “It is with real regret and a deepening sense of frustration that we have been forced to postpone tomorrow’s fixture against Doncaster Rovers.
“Whilst the threat of further EFL sanctions is obvious, nothing can be allowed to impact on the welfare of such a young group of players.
“With so many senior players injured or unavailable, the squad has performed heroically and deserves so much credit.
“But after consultation with the club’s medical staff, it is obvious that to call on them for another match without an adequate break would be detrimental to both their welfare and development, which cannot be allowed.”
The EFL, which has postponed all the fixtures of Bolton’s League One rivals Bury so far this season due to a lack of financial guarantees, fell short of threatening new sanctions against Bolton.
But it warned: “The EFL remains acutely aware of the ongoing risks this challenging and complex situation has to the integrity of the competition.”
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