THE upcoming derby clash between 1874 Northwich and Northwich Victoria has been postponed.

The neighbours were due to meet at Townfield on Monday in what would have been both sides' first North West Counties League match since the league restarted.

However, 1874 released a statement this morning confirming the board had agreed to call the fixture off at an emergency meeting last night – an action supported by Vics and the league.

With Cheshire now due to move into Tier 3 Covid restrictions on Boxing Day, the number of spectators allowed inside Townfield would have been reduced from 300 to 150 – none of which would have been away supporters.

As well as the "moral issues" caused by this, 1874 also said they had a duty to keep their fans safe amid rising rates of coronavirus in the area.

"Following the Government's announcement yesterday afternoon regarding Covid-19, we heard that Cheshire had been elevated to Tier 3, bringing additional restrictions for us all," a club statement read.

"The Board then held an emergency meeting last night, which included input from (co-managers) Paul Bowyer and Wayne Goodison, to discuss the impact on the squad, supporters, the club and the effect on matchday arrangements.

"We felt there was no alternative but to ask the North West Counties League to approve a postponement of the game on Monday 28 December.

"This request was granted, and we thank our league for their very swift response and understanding.

"We spoke to Northwich Victoria at length and they were in total agreement of this action.

"Obviously with the coronavirus reproduction rate dramatically increasing at present, and with the threat of further restrictions to potentially come, we are extremely concerned for the safety and wellbeing of everyone who would be present.

"We have worked hard to keep everyone as safe as possible at the ground but clearly, the rapid spread of the virus is a big worry and responsibility for us.

"We also assessed the financial impact on the club, with the new restrictions now in place.

"We are a members club and have a duty to ensure that we take responsible decisions when the need arises.

"There are also moral issues around how we would admit spectators, given that the number of season ticket holders and members far outweighs the permitted attendance.

"It also does not sit well that we are not able to welcome any away supporters to such an important game on the calendar.

"Whilst it is disappointing that we won’t be able to enjoy the traditional Christmas football derby, we are sure that everyone appreciates the significant challenges and the decision that has been taken and we thank you for your understanding."