PORTLAND United’s league clash at AFC Portchester today has been postponed after three members of the Blues’ staff fell ill with flu-like symptoms.

News of the postponement follows a raft of countrywide suspensions across football leagues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The trio displayed flu-like symptoms in the build-up to the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division fixture.

Two of the three are confirmed not to have been in self-isolation, with at least one fully recovered having minimised contact with other people since Tuesday's 6-1 win over Totton & Eling.

None of the three have been diagnosed with coronavirus and the measures are precautionary.

Portland were in transit to play Portchy before league bosses and boss Brendon King made a joint decision for his players and staff to return home.

Speaking to Echosport, King criticised Wessex League chiefs for what he perceived to be a lenient stance on the situation.

He said: “We spoke to the league and we were an hour into the journey when I spoke to our secretary (Randle Gates) and said ‘I’m not comfortable with this decision of having to play’.

“The league basically told us to turn around and ultimately they should’ve made these decisions.

“They shouldn’t have left it to the clubs to get into this situation.

“Perhaps we shouldn’t have travelled. Perhaps we should’ve said yesterday that we’re not prepared to travel because we’ve got people that are maybe showing symptoms of (coronavirus).

“It might just be flu, but we’re not doctors. You try and get a doctor’s appointment, which they have.”

He added: “It’s a tricky situation but I’m not prepared for my players to go up (to Portchester) and be in contact, potentially, in a dressing room if we’ve got people that are carrying it.

“That’s not right in my eyes, so we turned around. You’ve got to look at the bigger picture sometimes and what’s more important than a game of football.”

However, Portchester took to Twitter to voice their displeasure at the late postponement.

In two tweets, they said: “Despite the hard work of our ground staff to ensure the game could go ahead unfortunately today's game is now OFF.

“Portland set out for the game but then informed us after midday that they had some players who were unwell. So disappointingly there is no game today.

“Really disappointing today's game is off - so many people at the club have worked exceptionally hard to ensure the game could go ahead.

“And food was prepared and ready for pre-match hospitality and for expected spectators for today too. Really late call makes impact greater.”

Portchester manager Mick Catlin tweeted the sudden postponement had been “at a lot of cost to our club based on poor direction.”

He added it “sets a precedent now and again shifts the responsibility onto clubs to make decisions we are not qualified to make. We genuinely hope everyone @PortlandUnited are OK.”

Click here for live coronavirus updates from the Dorset Echo.