England fans have slammed authorities for their part in the postponement of the World Cup qualifying match against Poland in Warsaw.
The decision not to close the roof of the National Stadium – reportedly made by the Polish FA earlier on Tuesday – meant that the pitch was subject to a heavy deluge of water throughout the afternoon and evening, and after a handful of inspections by the referee, the game was eventually called off.
Mark Perryman of the London England Fans’ group was in attendance in Poland, and said that the supporters were relayed very little information, and that the non-usage of the roof was ‘inexplicable’.
“It was appalling,” Perryman told Goal.com. “They had the big screen suspended above the pitch, and the only announcement that came was that there would be an announcement at 21.45 local time.
“People are standing there getting texts from home. We can see that it’s pouring and pouring with rain, and the referee comes on maybe an hour before 21.45. The ball was hardly moving when he was throwing it.
“There was virtually no communication. I mean, it was a bit difficult because the fans were making a lot of noise so you couldn’t really hear the announcement, but as far as I could hear there was only one on the screen, which was an appalling way to treat the fans.
“I’ve got to say, I don’t think we should get on our moral high-horse because Wembley hasn’t even got a roof. It does seem strange though.
“I don’t know when it started raining, to be honest – we were playing a fans’ match against the Polish fans to launch Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) in the afternoon, but it clearly started raining at some stage in the afternoon.
“Why the roof wasn’t pulled across as a precaution I don’t know. I don’t know enough about the technological side of stadium roofs, but it just seems inexplicable that if they’ve got the facility, why not use it?”
The game was eventually postponed until 5pm local time on Wednesday and Perryman says it will be interesting to see how many Polish fans are in attendance, with the kick-off time coming during the working day.
The Polish FA were reportedly not keen on playing the game so close to their league fixtures, which are scheduled to continue on Friday.
Perryman added: “We’ve been told kick-off time is at five o’clock, which is during the working day for the Poles, so it could be very interesting to see what the attendance will be.
“There were probably a lot of negotiations going on between the FA and the Polish FA because the Polish league has games on Friday.
“The English FA were probably thinking: ‘We have all these lucrative friendlies lined up next year because of the 150th Anniversary, nightmare! We’ll have to cancel the Brazil game or the Ireland or Scotland game!’”