• DerbyshireFootball

Ilkeston Town withdraw from FA Trophy tie over COVID concerns

Ilkeston Town have decided not to take part in their scheduled FA Trophy tie at AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday - due to concerns over COVID-19 within the host team's squad.

Diamonds postponed their league match with Tamworth on Tuesday having had a positive test confirmed within their squad in the preceding days, but following a negative test on another player, confirmed they would be looking to play Saturday's tie with Ilkeston as planned.

However, the Robins have issued a statement saying that they don't believe the required isolation periods have been adhered to by Diamonds, and that they are withdrawing from the tie in the interests of the safety of their own players and supporters.

The statement reads: "On Tuesday of this week, AFC Rushden & Diamonds issued a club statement confirming a positive COVID case within their first team playing squad.

"The player concerned was actively participating in a training session less than 24 hours before the test had taken place. Since this time, other players within their squad have reported feeling unwell and their midweek fixture was postponed due to the potential seriousness of the outbreak.

"Although government guidance for football steps 3-6 differs from everyday life, we have not been satisfied that our hosts' circumstances have changed significantly and Saturday would only equate to eight days of an incubation period for the virus, not the 14 days the Government actually suggest it could take for any symptoms to appear.

"In life away from football, exposure to the virus would result in self isolation for 14 days and with our duty to protect our staff, players, supporters and whole community from the spread of the killer virus, we have taken the difficult decision to not participate in the fixture on Saturday.

"This difficult decision has been made purely on health and safety grounds and has potentially cost the club financially and our place in the competition.

"We ask that you place your disappointment aside in these strange times and understand that the well being of everyone at our football club will always be our priority."

AFC Rushden & Diamonds are yet to respond to the statement at the time of publication.