Oxford United’s clash with Crewe Alexandra was postponed yesterday after two Alex players tested positive for Covid-19.
The game was lost at short notice, with Crewe turning up to play the game, but an announcement made at 2.30 pm that the game was to be called off. The EFL have launched an investigation, as is par for the course under these circumstances, but that didn’t placate a rightfully angry Oxford United boss.
He laid out the requirements he felt were a bare minimum for players in League One at present, and pointed the finger of blame firmly in the direction of two bodies.
“We need to be tested. That shouldn’t fall at the foot of football clubs already struggling with a lack of fans and the funds are unavailable at this moment in time. It shouldn’t fall at the foot of the government,” said Robinson.
“The PFA has a responsibility for the welfare of their players. Again, the EFL and PFA are letting our industry down. I don’t know who it is, I know there are good people at the EFL who do things right and want things to be done.
“When are they going to stand up and listen to what’s going on. We’re telling them we need help now, we need testing, we need protocols in place. There are other teams that aren’t doing it right, dressing rooms we’ve had that haven’t been good enough.”
Oxford have played away twice this season, losing 2-0 at Lincoln City after which Robinson lashed out at the changing facilities at the LNER Stadium. Lincoln have brought in a Portakabin or visitors to enable social distancing at their matches. He didn’t mention the facilities at Accrington, but Oxford won that game 4-1.
Whilst the fallout from yesterday’s postponement is likely to rumble on in much the same way as Bolton’s against Doncaster last season, the situation with Covid and the continuation of football does remain very much in the balance.
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Football is on a precipice, staring down into the abyss. Make no mistake, that is the situation. The UK teeters on the brink of another lockdown and if that happens, clubs will be starved of what little income they are currently managing to attract.
Even continuing to play has implications, with fans not allowed back into stadiums anytime soon. The fear, not only of the situation but also of Covid-19, has made the sporting world a desolate and friendless place.
Robinson; remarks are partly right, partly wrong. Of course, the EFL and PFA do have a responsibility and perhaps should be doing more to help clubs, but taking pot-shots at other clubs efforts is not helping. Do the likes of Lincoln and Accrington build news changing rooms, at a huge cost, simply to keep Oxford’s boss in the style he has been accustomed? In one breath, Robinson makes the sort of points that everyone feels, and in the other, he blasts clubs for at least making the effort to social distance.
Now is not the tike to claim cash-strapped clubs are not doing their bit, when there are much, much wider problems for the game to address.