IAN Evatt has branded the decision to end matchday Covid testing in the EFL as an “absolute nonsense”.

Last week, league clubs were told they no longer needed to test players on the day of a game in order to reduce the number of late postponements.

Thirteen games were called off over the New Year programme and Evatt had expressed his own doubts that Wanderers’ game at Rotherham United should go ahead, given the impact the virus had on his squad.

Asked if he agreed with the decision to stop matchday testing – which was meant to reduce inconvenience to supporters – the Bolton boss said he league had ignored the bigger picture.

“I think it’s nonsense, absolute nonsense,” he argued. “I genuinely can’t understand why you wouldn’t test on them, what makes Saturday any different.

“I understand, I do understand that fans have to make travel plans and there’s a huge expense there but the world we’re living in, the most important thing is keeping this virus at bay and keeping it out of vulnerable households.

“Now all these players, people forget this, and football staff have vulnerable family members at home and if they are carrying the virus over the weekend when they haven’t been tested, just because we’ve scrapped it on Saturdays and they go home and visit grandma thinking they’re okay and all of a sudden grandma contracts the virus and ends up in hospital, what are we doing?

“Football is a game, we love it, we feel like it’s our livelihoods but the bigger picture here is about saving lives.

“So I have no doubt in my mind that it’s the wrong thing to do, no doubt.”

Evatt saw the majority of his first team and backroom staff test positive for Covid in mid-to-late December, some of whom were still showing after-effects when they were officially designated ‘fit to play’.

The EFL rules say clubs cannot request to postpone a game if they have 14 senior available players, plus a goalkeeper, but Evatt maintains that the physical state of those who have stopped self-isolation and returned to work is not taken into consideration.

“We can’t be so rigid with our rule making,” he said. “This virus affects people in different ways, some are asymptomatic, some aren’t.

“Until you go back into a full intense, elite sport football match you have no idea how your body is going to react and respond.

“We had so many players coughing and spluttering after the game last Saturday, even during the game. Lots of cramping issues and fortunately for us we got out of it unscathed but that could’ve been so different.

“I don’t think we should’ve been made to play the game in all honesty but this is something that we’re all going to have to deal with, all football clubs.

“We’ve been through the mill with it the last few weeks but hopefully we’re out the other side of it now and we can reap the benefits of mostly having it that we won’t get it for the next few months.

“Hopefully we’ve got some levels of immunity now and we can focus on kicking on in the league."