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David Artell ‘livid’ over Oxford postponement and criticism of Crewe

Crewe Alexandra v Stoke City – Pre-Season – Gresty Road
(Image credit: Anthony Devlin)

Crewe manager David Artell has hit back at criticism over the postponement of their midweek game with Oxford and claimed his side had been coronavirus-free and “ready to play”.

The match was postponed four hours before kick-off, with Crewe indicating in a brief statement at the time that the decision had been taken after “fully considering the relevant guidance from the government and EFL”.

The decision drew a furious reaction from Oxford boss Karl Robinson, who suggested his side should be awarded the three points, but Artell has now appeared to suggest his side were strong-armed into requesting a postponement.

Artell told Crewe’s official website: “We had no positive cases, no-one was ill and we were made to say we couldn’t play and I was livid. I am still livid.

“I completely understand the first postponement because no-one could foresee that happening on the day of the game, but Tuesday was nothing like that.

“I understand that the EFL act cautiously but there has to be some justification to it and not just based on falsehoods and accusations from another football club and them kicking off.

“We have been tested again this week because of this and we have had them all back, players and staff – all negative. I bet there are not many EFL clubs that have been tested twice in two weeks that is for sure.

“That makes it even more disgusting because we were ready to play a game of football on Tuesday and for whatever reason, someone didn’t want to play.”

The original match on October 3 was postponed half an hour before kick-off when defender Omar Beckles tested positive for the virus, followed by two more first-team players.

In the website article, Crewe stressed that at the time of the second postponement they had no positive cases, no players or staff showing symptoms, and no players required to self-isolate.

Neither the EFL, which issued a statement on Tuesday acknowledging Crewe’s decision that they were unable to fulfil the fixture, nor Oxford wished to comment further.