Bolton to play two games without fans due to safety concerns

2 April 2019

bolton security risk
Photo: Getty Images The Bolton players will have to do without supporters in the next two home games due to security concerns.

Wanderers’ next two home games will take place without supporters due to a “prohibition notice” from the Safety Advisory Group.

Bolton admitted they couldn’t commit to meeting safety obligations until after a scheduled appearance at the High Court tomorrow.

The EFL is engaged with the club to ensure they meet their fixture obligations.

Christian Fomsgaard Jensen cfj@offthepitch.com

Bolton Wanderers are to play their next two games without any spectators attending the University of Bolton Stadium, EFL announced on Tuesday afternoon. The troubling message for Bolton comes in the midst of takeover chaos, a failure to pay salaries for the second month in a row and after they have been selling tickets for their upcoming game against Ipswich as a “community fixture” for just £5.

The Safety Advisory Group (SAG), which is responsible for issuing the general safety certificate at the club, has put a stop to that campaign imposing a prohibition notice under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975.

“Every effort has been made to give the club enough time to put adequate matchday operation standards in place, but regrettably the law gives us no alternative but to issue a prohibition notice,” an SAG spokesperson said, according to The Bolton News.

Whilst disappointed, the EFL understands the rationale for the position taken by the SAG at this time. However, we still hope the fixtures will take place as planned

“Safety and security remain our primary concern and while we recognise that spectators may be disappointed, we are not prepared to put the public at risk.”

Prior to a meeting called by the SAG, Wanderers confirmed they would be unable to commit to meeting the obligations of the safety certificate until after a scheduled appearance at the High Court tomorrow, Wednesday.

EFL offers assistance

Following this admission, SAG concluded that it would be too short a timeframe to put an adequate plan in place to secure the safety of the fans during the two home fixtures against Ipswich Town on Saturday 6 April and Middlesbrough on Tuesday 9 April.

Since the prohibition notice, the EFL has been engaged with the club in regard to how they intend to meet their fixture obligations.

“Whilst disappointed, the EFL understands the rationale for the position taken by the SAG at this time. However, we still hope the fixtures will take place as planned. We will work with the club and offer them any practical assistance that is available to us in an attempt to find a successful and timely resolution to the issue,” an EFL spokesperson said.

The SAG is a multi-agency panel including Bolton Council, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service and St John Ambulance.