How Premier League match postponements are decided

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How Premier League match postponements are decided

Postponements of Premier League fixtures because of the weather have been rare of late.

If the weather does pose a risk, clubs are reminded of the procedures they must follow regarding contact with the match referees and the early inspection of pitches.

It is the match official, and not the home club, who is responsible for deciding the play-worthiness of a pitch.

Pre-match precautions

So what precautions does a referee take to try to ensure a match goes ahead?

Mike Riley, the Managing Director of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and former FIFA-accredited referee, explains the criteria.

"There are two main considerations to make when conducting a pitch inspection: player safety and the match as a spectacle," he says.

"A referee has to consider whether the playing conditions threaten the wellbeing of the players and whether they compromise the match as a spectacle for the fans."

Whenever there is the slightest indication of a match being adversely affected by the weather, clubs are advised to contact the match referee at least 48 hours before kick-off to warn of the potential for poor conditions.

In the Premier League an inspection will take place early on a matchday to try to avoid wasted journeys for supporters.

"The first thing a referee does is speak to the groundsman," Riley says.

"He is the person best placed to understand exactly how his pitch behaves under certain conditions and the likelihood of a pitch deteriorating or otherwise.

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