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Cheltenham-Grimsby the latest EFL match to be postponed due to coronavirus

Walsall versus Leyton Orient was postponed on Thursday.

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A general view of the club crest at Blundell Park

A general view of the club crest at Blundell Park

A general view of the club crest at Blundell Park

Cheltenham’s League Two match at home to Grimsby on Saturday is the latest to be postponed due to coronavirus.

Grimsby have told the English Football League that they are unable to safely fulfil the fixture as a player has tested positive for Covid-19.

Leyton Orient’s trip to Walsall had already been postponed due to a number positive cases within the O’s squad, which also forced their Carabao Cup tie with Tottenham to be called off.

Stevenage’s match at Bradford is also in jeopardy after one of their players tested positive.

The EFL said: “This weekend’s Sky Bet League Two fixture between Cheltenham Town and Grimsby Town has been suspended and will not take place on Saturday as scheduled.

“Due to a positive case of Covid-19 being identified within the Grimsby Town squad it has resulted in other players and staff being required to self-isolate in line with EFL and Government guidance.

“As a result, the club has advised the EFL it considers it is unable to safely fulfil this weekend’s fixture.

I think for the continuation of football, behind closed doors even, players and associated staff have to be tested, no question.Rochdale chief executive David Bottomley

“The circumstances surrounding the postponement will now be the subject of an investigation in accordance with EFL regulations.

“A revised date for the rearranged fixture will be confirmed in due course.”

At Stevenage a player reported mild Covid-19 symptoms on Thursday and subsequently tested positive.

The club cancelled travel plans to Bradford and tested all their players and staff, with the results due on Saturday morning.

The EFL is reviewing it’s testing policy, with weekly testing currently not mandatory for its clubs.

Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace has called for support in order to get weekly testing, in line with Premier League clubs.

He told the club website: “What we have been told to do – only test players and management with symptoms – might have been acceptable when numbers were low but things have changed and when it happens in your club, you feel an obligation to test everyone, if only to reassure them.

“But what do we do if another individual reports with symptoms on Monday – test everyone all over again? This isn’t the right way and nor is only testing symptomatic players.

“The EFL simply can’t leave it to clubs to decide who gets tested and who doesn’t for all sorts of fairly obvious reasons.

“With what’s in front of us, I believe we have to find a way to get weekly testing funded.”

Rochdale chief executive David Bottomley is also among those calling for a change to the EFL’s stance.

“Weekly testing has to happen,” he said. “It’s a very expensive procedure, because you’re looking at that adding another £15,000 a month to a normal everyday operation.

“But I think for the continuation of football, behind closed doors even, players and associated staff have to be tested, no question.”

PA