Tranmere Rovers have heavily criticised the English Football League for issuing what they say is an 'inaccurate' statement following the club's coronavirus crisis.

The Birkenhead club was only able to field 10 senior first team players on Saturday in its League Two fixture against Salford City.

In a statement after the match, the club advised that they went ahead with the game, filling the substitutes bench with youth players, because the EFL had given them no assurances that they would not be subject to a 12 point deduction for failing to fulfil a fixture.

Tranmere said they would not be commenting any further on the matter, but after the EFL issued a counter statement in which they described Rovers' claims as "at best extremely misleading for supporters of Tranmere Rovers and other clubs across the EFL," another statement has emerged this evening from Prenton Park.

The statement says: "Tranmere Rovers FC is disappointed in the EFL's factually inaccurate, and therefore misleading, statement regarding the Covid situation at the Club.  

"The EFL state that Tranmere contacted the EFL once last week with a specific query relating to U21 players. In fact, the Club spoke to the EFL specifically about the first team Covid situation with reference to the Salford City fixture every day last week (as the picture was evolving), and on more than one occasion on some days.  

“We were advised by the EFL that in the event that we did not play the fixture there would be an investigation which could lead to disciplinary charges. We note that the EFL have confirmed this is indeed the process which would be followed.   

"The sanctions that can be applied for failing to fulfil a fixture include both fines and points deductions. At no point did the EFL give us any cause to believe that sanctions would be unlikely to be applied. Indeed, on 6th October, the EFL put in writing to us: "... we need to try to do everything we can to ensure this fixture goes ahead if it can; the last thing / option we want to be looking at is a non-fulfilment of fixture and the resulting investigation and everything else that comes with it."

"The EFL also pointed out to Tranmere that other clubs who had postponed fixtures for Covid related incidents had had medical advice that it was unsafe to play. We did not have such advice.  

"We also took account of the fact that Leyton Orient, having been unable to fulfil a fixture against Spurs due to Covid issues, had been eliminated from the Carabao Cup.

"In these circumstances, we preferred to take our chances on the pitch than in a disciplinary tribunal.

"We believe there should be clear and specific guidelines for member clubs regarding the approach to disciplinary proceedings in the event of non-fulfilment of fixtures due to Covid issues so that clubs are not left to make these judgment calls absent any guidance. 

"This is not just about Tranmere - there are many clubs who will be facing similar situations in the coming months and if the intention is not to apply sanctions we feel this should be made clear.

"The EFL stated in their press release published on Sunday 11 October that our original statement was ".... extremely misleading for supporters of both Tranmere Rovers and other clubs across the EFL.”  

"Our original statement on the matter said that we had opted to play because there was no guarantee that points would not be deducted.  The EFL have confirmed exactly this, whilst at the same time branding the statement as "extremely misleading".   

"We therefore stand by our initial statement and note with disappointment the EFL's selective and inaccurate presentation of the facts with regard to the dealings between the Club and the EFL."

Bad blood has existed between Tranmere and the EFL since they were demoted from League One last season by a club vote, after coronavirus forced the league season to be terminated early.