Rangers complain to SPFL over 'deeply embarrassing' Dundee call-off

The Ibrox club say the Dens Park club has been negligent and unprofessional.

Rangers complain to SPFL over ‘deeply embarrassing’ Dundee call-off SNS Group

Rangers have complained to the Scottish Professional Football League over the postponement of their match against Dundee, saying the Dens Park club’s “negligence and unprofessionalism” had led to a “deeply embarrassing” outcome.

The Premiership match was postponed after a second pitch inspection by referee Don Robertson found the playing surface to waterlogged and unsafe.

It was the second time this particular fixture has been called off, having been previously scheduled for March 17 and rained off on that occasion. Dundee have now had four different matches postponed this season because of the condition of their pitch.

Motherwell had voiced their unhappiness at being forced to play on a surface they considered unsafe last weekend and when further rain led to the cancellation of Wednesday’s televised match, Rangers issued a statement laying out their position.

The Ibrox club criticised Dundee, saying the club had broken multiple league rules, and said they had caused reputational damage to the Premiership. But Rangers also took aim at the SPFL, saying that they had mishandled the situation and rejected proposed solutions.

A club statement read: “Rangers has written to the SPFL outlining its position following today’s further postponement of the Dundee Scottish Premiership fixture.

“The negligence and unprofessionalism demonstrated by Dundee Football Club, where they have repeatedly breached SPFL rules, continues to have a damaging effect on the top professional league in the country.

“In a week where record TV viewing figures were recorded for a match in the same competition, and this evening’s game due to be televised again by Sky Sports, this episode is deeply embarrassing and has also been eminently avoidable.

“Rangers expects the SPFL to take proportionate and decisive action in accordance with its rules, and the club will continue to make representations to them in the strongest possible manner.

“The club has been repeatedly putting forward solutions to the SPFL, which have not been taken up. It has again proposed a solution to the preparation and execution of this rescheduled fixture and is awaiting a response from the SPFL.

“As things stand, the rescheduled match will be on Wednesday, April 17 at 8pm. The club considers that this matter has been handled incorrectly throughout by both Dundee and the SPFL.

“At this time, we sympathise fully once again with our supporters, approximately 4,000 of whom were looking forward to attending tonight’s game. Having already been left hugely inconvenienced and out of pocket by the first postponement last month, it is entirely unacceptable and disrespectful on the part of Dundee FC to have allowed this situation to have developed again.”

The SPFL had earlier confirmed the postponement and the new date and time for the game, saying at that time that there was already an ongoing disciplinary process involving Dundee and that the latest postponement would be included in that investigation. The league also said that they had discussed contingency plans with both clubs before settling on the new date, and that they felt their decision was the right one.

Calum Beattie, chief operating officer at the SPFL, said: “The match referee has carried out two detailed pitch inspections today and in light of the forecast for heavy rain later today in Dundee, a decision has now been taken that the pitch will not be playable this evening.

“Whilst this development is extremely disappointing, we have had contingency measures in place since last month and informed both clubs by email on March 21 of our intention, should tonight’s game fall victim to the weather, that we would rearrange the game for Dens Park on the evening of Wednesday, April 17.

“In the last week we have explored other possible options with both clubs but none of them were deemed to be better than our original contingency plan.

“This decision gives this vital fixture the very best chance of being played in front of both sets of supporters and also gives us a week to finalise further contingency planning in the event that the weather unexpectedly deteriorates in the interim.

“There is currently an ongoing disciplinary process regarding pitch issues at Dens Park and the latest developments will form part of those enquiries.”

Dundee secretary Eric Drysdale said that climate change was a likely factor in the multiple postponements and also said the club had been unlucky in that storms had fallen on days when games were scheduled.

Drysdale told Sky Sports News: “I can understand that people are annoyed and are looking at this as being Dundee’s fault. What I would say is that, from the research that we’ve done in the last few days, we note that this year’s rainfall is 35 per cent higher than the last 10 years’ average.

“That shows the effects that climate change is having on it and it appears we need to urgently do more work on the Dens Park pitch and we are absolutely up for doing that in the summer.”

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