Cricket fans are devastated at the prospect of losing thousands of pounds after England’s fifth Test against India was called off at the 11th hour.
The match at Old Trafford was postponed on Friday morning, just four hours before the scheduled 11am start, over fears of more positive coronavirus tests among the visitors’ camp.
A number of India’s backroom staff had tested positive, but the playing squad had all returned negative tests.
However, players were said to still be wary of playing the match and the decision was taken to cancel the Test less than three hours before it started.
The India players and team are now facing accusations they have refused to play and potentially jeopardise the re-start of the Indian Premier League season on September 19.
The decision – which the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) insist was a ‘joint’ one – leaves fans facing the prospect of being thousands of pounds out of pocket.
One supporter called talkSPORT on Friday morning about how his party of 18 friends have spent around £2000 on hotels and travel for the game, which they are unlikely to recoup.
Alex Gatt told talkSPORT: “I’m absolutely shocked and disgusted to be honest. We have obviously had this booked for near on two years now.
“It was meant to be last year and that got cancelled. Now we’ve got 18 people asking me what’s going on with refunds, etc. I don’t think we are going to get that for the hotel to be honest.
“A large majority are still going to travel and enjoy a day out. I don’t know what we’re going to do.
“The hotel is already booked and paid for. Just under £2000 for the hotel and there are a few lads who now don’t want to go as they were all about going to the cricket.
“I honestly don’t know where we are go with that. Presumably we are going to have to suck it up and take it.”
The Barmy Army also face losing thousands of pounds and, according to managing director Chris Mallard, there will be a knock-on effect on local businesses in the area, too.
Asked for his reaction, Mallard told talkSPORT Breakfast: “Absolute rage, to be honest with you.
“I was just arriving at Old Trafford when the news came through just after 8am, and I just started shaking with anger at the way this has played out.
“Not only for the fans who were supposed to be here, but there are so many little businesses that are affected by a late decision like this and it causes a knock-on effect.
“It’s going to be a difficult winter for businesses in sport and for a business like the Barmy Army, the absolute nightmare this has caused for merchandising, ticket holders, staff, it really couldn’t be much worse.”
On the suspicions that the game has been called off due to the players’ commitments to the IPL, Mallard added: “With the IPL around the corner, there is no doubt this would be played if it wasn’t for the IPL.
“It’s an absolute outrage for it to have such power. The Indian players being the ones who would have pulled out to protect their IPL contracts and commercial contracts.
“Yes they are huge, we have to respect that, but lets be honest they had to fulfil this fixture.
“It’s shocking they are allowed to pull the plug.”
Download talkSPORT Edge NOW!
It’s the free football app that keeps you one step ahead of your mates with short, sharp and shareable content.