Severe wind and rain affecting the north-west of England saw the Premier League matches at Manchester City and Everton due to take place on Wednesday both postponed
Manchester: Severe wind and rain affecting the north-west of England saw the Premier League matches at Manchester City and Everton due to take place on Wednesday both postponed.
Title contenders City were set to face Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium while, in nearby Liverpool, Everton were due to play Crystal Palace at Goodison Park.
But both matches were called off shortly before they were each due to start at 7:45pm local time (1945GMT) as conditions deteriorated.
"Manchester City can confirm that this (Wednesday's) evening's fixture versus Sunderland has been postponed due to exceptional and escalating weather conditions," said a club statement.
"The safety of those in around and travelling to the stadium complex cannot be guaranteed. This decision has been made by the safety officer and Greater Manchester Police.
"Both managers and the match officials understand and support this decision.
"A number of issues around the stadium as the wind increased in the hours leading to kick-off made the area unsafe.
"An unused programme booth blew over and part of a wall was also damaged."
City manager Manuel Pellegrini added: "The safety of the City and Sunderland supporters is the most important thing and we understand and fully support the reasons behind the game being called off.
"We were ready to play this game but the well-being of the people coming to the Etihad is paramount. We hope everybody gets home safely, both in Manchester and Sunderland."
Following leaders Chelsea's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, City -- three points off top spot -- could have replaced the Blues at the top of the table had they beaten relegation-threatened Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium and other results gone in their favour.
However, Chelsea could still find themselves dropping down the table if second-placed Arsenal, currently two points adrift, defeat visitors Manchester United in their Wednesday match at the north London club's Emirates Stadium.
The City-Sunderland match will now have to be re-arranged for later in the season, adding to the fixture congestion already confronting a City side still involved in four competitions.
It was postponed after Britain's Met Office issued an amber warning for severe winds for Greater Manchester.
An even higher red alert warning -- the highest possible -- was issued for other parts of the north-west including Merseyside, where Everton, just outside the Champions League places in sixth position, were due to take on a Palace side climbing away from the relegation zone under manager Tony Pulis.
However, Everton said on their Twitter feed: "Tonight's game has been called off due to building damage which has led to safety concerns."
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Midlands club Stoke's match against Swansea, due to kick-off at 7.45pm had been delayed 15 minutes until 8.00pm (2000GMT) because of "traffic issues" near the Britannia Stadium.
However, the game did start at the revised time.
In London, as well as the Arsenal match, Fulham's game against Liverpool went ahead as scheduled while Wednesday's other top-flight fixture, between north-east side Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur also kicked-off as planned.