Football, racing and rugby hit by big freeze

HEAVY snowfall continued to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar yesterday, with last night’s scheduled Premier League clash between Arsenal and Bolton the most high-profile event to be called off.

Horse racing was also severely hit, while several of the weekend’s rugby union fixtures have already been put back.

Arsenal had been hopeful earlier in the day that the game would go ahead despite freezing conditions, insisting the Emirates Stadium pitch was likely to be playable. But four hours before the planned kick-off they postponed the clash, citing concerns for the safety of supporters travelling to and from the game as a major factor. A date is yet to be set for the rearranged fixture. It was the third major match to be postponed this week, following the Carling Cup semi-finals at Blackburn (Tuesday) and Manchester City (Wednesday).

Yesterday’s meeting at Lingfield’s all-weather track was cancelled after four inches of snow left the Surrey racecourse hard to reach, while racing at Kempton was abandoned. Tomorrow’s planned racing at Fontwell and Saturday’s National Hunt fixture at Wincanton have also been postponed.

Three of Saturday’s Premiership rugby clashes have already been written off, including leaders Saracens’ trip to Sale. Newcastle’s match against Gloucester and the game between Bath and Northampton have also been postponed.