The mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram have written to the Football Association to request a change of venue for the upcoming FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Liverpool.
The clash is scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium on the 16th or 17th of next month with the winner due to face off against one of Chelsea or Crystal Palace in May’s grand finale.
In a joint letter to English football’s governing body, Burnham and Rotheram wrote:
“Without quick, direct trains, many people will be left with no option but to drive, fly, make overly complex rail journeys or book overnight accommodation.
“When you factor in the rising costs of fuel, it is clear that supporters of both clubs attending this game will face excessive cost and inconvenience – and that is before any environmental impact is considered.
“There are also significant logistical and safety considerations. With thousands of fans making the long journey south, there will be huge numbers converging on the M6, which is likely to be stretched to capacity by bank holiday traffic.
“A single accident would risk the entire motorway being brought to a standstill and fans missing the kickoff.
“Over the last year, we have heard the slogan ‘football without fans is nothing’ many times. If this decision is left to stand, and people are either priced out of this game or unable to attend for other reasons, those words will be meaningless to many.
“We believe the most obvious solution is to move the game to a more accessible stadium and offer to work constructively with you to make that happen.”
The FA had earlier said on Monday that it was working with both clubs and transport bodies to ensure fans would be able to navigate their way to and from Wembley successfully.
With between 50-60,000 supporters expected to make the journey to the capital, it is no surprise to see the mayors voice their concerns, and it is now up to the FA to find a viable solution for all the parties involved.
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