YORK City Knights are demanding to be given the two league points after today’s game at Rochdale Hornets was controversially called off.

As reported, the Betfred Championship match, having initially been delayed, was cancelled just after the scheduled 3pm kick-off time due to “health and safety concerns” caused by high winds.

Both teams had been kitted out and were waiting to warm-up, but the covers on the pitch were still on and neither set of rugby posts at either end had been put up.

The Rugby Football League has said it will investigate the circumstances around the call-off and says “all eventualities” will be considered. These include a rearrangement or the home team forfeiting the points.

Knights chairman Jon Flatman, in a statement issued tonight, has suggested stadium officials at Spotland – now known as the Crown Oil Arena for sponsorship purposes - had a “different agenda” and says the Minster city club “expect” to be given the two points.

The stadium is owned by League One football club Rochdale AFC, who had a home game on Saturday and have another on Tuesday night.

Flatman has also said arrangements at the new Community Stadium in York, to be shared by York City FC and the Knights, will also be reviewed to make sure such controversies do not occur there.

He said: “There is a clear issue to resolve when both teams’ players, staff and officials want a game to occur and issues created via the stadium management company and contractors result in a different outcome.

“The match commissioner was clear that the pitch was playable and he tried his very best to reason with a group of individuals who had a different agenda.

“Health and safety is a primary concern of all parties. However, it is not correct to use this backdrop to mask a different agenda.

“It’s the players and fans with whom I have the greatest sympathy. The new wave of York fans, over 300 in number, who have travelled to the game with good intention has been let down and quite rightly they are asking questions of our club, the Rochdale club and the sport as a whole.

“Be under no illusions, though. York City Knights explored every avenue to get the game on and expect the two league points to be awarded to us and for a clear message to be sent that professional rugby league has obligations of all clubs with respect of ground availability.

“In light of today, we will further review this position with the arrangements at the new Community Stadium.”

As reported, the covers had gone on the pitch after Saturday’s football match due to the forecast heavy rains. The posts cannot be put up while the covers are on, and staff said high winds made it unsafe to erect them on the day of the game.

A statement issued by the Hornets immediately after the call-off said the fixture was cancelled “due to safety concerns”.

It read: "Due to adverse weather and high winds, the ground staff have been unable to remove pitch covers and erect rugby posts in a safe manner.

"Rochdale Hornets have worked closely with ground staff and an external contractor exploring all possibilities to allow the game to take place which included delaying the kick off in the hope we would have a window where the sheets could be removed and posts could be erected safely."

Hornets chief executive Steve Kerr said: “Whilst we are extremely disappointed and frustrated by this situation the safety of all staff in the stadium is paramount.

“We will work hard over the coming days with Rochdale AFC, the stadium company and the Rugby Football League to come to a solution on this and rearrange the fixture.

“Finally I would like to apologise to both sets of players, staff and all supporters who have travelled far and wide to support their teams.

“I would especially like to extend my apologies to the large number of York City Knights supporters who have travelled today.”

The call-off denied the Knights the chance to go joint top of the Championship following leaders Toronto Wolfpack's shock hammering at Toulouse Olympique on Saturday.

Following Flatman's statement, Kerr added today: "We are submitting our reports to the RFL as required in the operational rules. It's up to the RFL to determine the next course of action.

"The game was cancelled legitimately for safety concerns by qualified staff in the ground."

A spokesperson for Rochdale AFC said: “The safety and well-being of those who work at or attend matches at the Crown Oil Arena is paramount. That includes players, officials, matchday staff and spectators. 

“Adverse weather and high winds on Sunday posed a real safety threat to those working at the match and to spectators. 

“Human life will not be put at risk.”