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The ref's verdict

25 August 2012

Neil Swarbrick on decision processes

Referee Neil Swarbrick spoke to the press soon after taking the decision to call off this afternoon's game at a soaked Stadium of Light.

"We took a ball out with us and rolled it on the pitch...or tried to roll the ball on the pitch," he explained "But it was holding up in the water.

"So our next nmove was then to look at the weather forecast - and we looked at numerous websites to find out what the forecast was; it said it was expected to continue to rain until approximately 9 o'clock tonight - so was there was to be no let up the rain whatsoever.

"Talking to the groundsman, he told me the water banks were already full, which is obviously down to mother nature and the fact that it had been raining all night and all morning. There was nowhere for the water to go, so whatever water was coming down was just going to stay on the pitch.

"At that point, as officials, we spoke about the situation and before we made any final decision we just wanted to talk to both Martin and Brian about our thought process. We did that, we went out onto the pitch with them and straight away they could understand our concerns and the issues with the pitch.

"The pools of water were getting larger and longer and we agreed straight away that the game should be called off. The ball would have been holding up in the water, the safety of the players was a factor, and obviously the game as a spectacle would have just been a farce. So this afternoon's game has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch. Personally, I can say I've never had to call a game off in August before!"

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