The ongoing fuel crisis across England has spilled over into football with several midweek non-league games forced to be postponed.
A directive from the Isthmian League – which covers the seventh and eighth levels of English football – has allowed clubs to request postponements of matches due to fuel shortages.
A shortage of truck drivers has sparked panic shopping at gas stations and although the AA president believes the crisis will subside in the next 48 hours, many clubs are not ready to travel and have therefore postponed the matches.
Seventh and eighth tier non-league football clubs in English football have been allowed to postpone midweek matches due to ongoing fuel shortages in England
At least eight matches have already been postponed due to the fuel crisis with Chipstead FC Surrey v Chertsey Town, Whitehawk v Burgess Hill Town and Worthing v Merstham among the canceled matches.
While a number of clubs have accepted the league’s postponement offer, critics have pointed to lucrative FA Cup ties this weekend as a reason to cut midweek games.
Folkestone Invicta, who postponed their midweek game against Hornchurch FC, and Whitehawk are among the Isthmian League sides entering the FA Cup third qualifying round on Saturday.
Clubs such as Cray Valley PM FC have been baffled that their rivals could cancel games
Critical supporters of the cancellations pointed to lucrative FA Cup games this weekend, with some of the teams involved now able to get a full week’s rest before the third qualifying round
THE ISTHMIAN FIRST GAMES POSTPONED
Bishop’s Stortford PP Enfield Town
Bognor Regis Town PP Leatherhead
Bowers & Pitsea PP Corinthian Casuals
Folkestone Invicta PP Hornchurch
Lewes PP Carshalton Athletic
Margate PP East Thurrock United
Worthing PP Merstham Town
The winners of the weekend’s ties will receive £ 5,625 and have secured a minimum of £ 3,125 more to enter the fourth qualifying round.
Fans have indicated that this lucrative weekend of cup action was a reason for postponements as clubs detailed their decisions on social media.
Many of the seven games postponed Tuesday night in the Isthmian Premier Division involve teams involved in the FA Cup.
Enfield Town, Bowers & Pitsea, Corinthian-Casuals, Folkestone Invicta, Hornchurch, East Thurrock United and Merstham are all involved this weekend.
Cray Valley, who was scheduled to play at Phoenix Sports on Tuesday, was among those teams to criticize the mass postponements.
The club tweeted: “The league directive took us a lot by surprise and it was the decision of our visitors to cancel this game.
“We weren’t expecting this and it wasn’t our decision, so apologize to anyone who was disturbed.”
Fuel shortage is expected to ease over the next 48 hours, but clubs have made early decisions
Bury Town, who was set to face Dereham Town, released a statement to supporters to reveal they had no desire to postpone.
He said: “The game has been postponed because Dereham is unable to bring enough club officials and volunteers to the field to run the game safely due to current fuel issues.
“A directive came from the Isthmian League on Sunday afternoon that if a club wanted to postpone their games, they could do so due to the current fuel problems.”