SWINDON Town’s postponed game against Bristol Rovers last weekend should have taken place, according to the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL).

The west-country derby was postponed due to a frozen pitch at 11:15 on Saturday morning by referee Leigh Doughty, much to the surprise and frustration of everyone associated with Rovers.

While Swindon headed back to Wiltshire, the Gas’ senior officials immediately complained to the EFL and PGMOL asking for the game to be played later on Saturday or even the following Sunday.

Their request was ultimately turned down, but after a complaint by Bristol Rovers CEO Martyn Starnes was made to the pair of governing bodies, the PGMOL confirmed Rovers did have cause to feel aggrieved as the game should have taken place as scheduled.

In a statement on Bristol Rovers’ club website, Starnes said: “The decision to postpone the fixture was strongly contested by our staff on site, particularly as Swindon appeared to have been informed before we had. After the decision was made, the referee quickly left the stadium.

“The club immediately complained to the EFL and the PGMOL, as the pitch was playable.

“We video called senior staff at the EFL to show them all parts of the pitch and evidence was collected of the conditions and the preparation. All of this was included as part of our complaint.

“Since then, we have received an apology from the PGMOL and an acceptance that with hindsight the match should have taken place.”

According to Starnes, the pitch was deemed fit for purpose by ground staff early on Saturday morning, while temperatures were still hovering around freezing, and claimed the club was “left staggered” upon hearing the news it had been called off.

Rovers’ CEO was further upset by Town’s refusal to play the game later that weekend and said his side will have to pay double due to the referee’s mistake.

Starnes said: “Despite the apology being accepted, as a club, we feel that the EFL and the referees should be doing all they can to get fixtures fulfilled, with numerous inspections taking place before a definitive decision is agreed by all parties.

“We note that this practice was followed at other fixtures due to take place over the course of the weekend.

“The club has been the victim of this poor decision and as it stands will have to cover the cost of the staffing required on Saturday, as well as the new arranged date at the end of March.”