Liverpool fans accuse BBC over Friday night FA Cup tie

Liverpool fans Image copyright empics
Image caption Liverpool fans face a 250-mile journey to Devon

Liverpool fans have accused the BBC of "a complete lack of regard" by scheduling the club's FA Cup tie against Exeter City on a Friday.

The match at St James Park kicks off at 19:55 GMT and will be shown on BBC One.

Fans, who face a 500-mile round trip to Devon, were "expected to put up, pay up and shut up", the Spirit of Shankly supporters union said.

The BBC said Friday night matches had "proved very popular" and would soon be introduced in the Premier League.

Time off work

James McKenna from Spirit of Shankly said the BBC had based its decision solely on television audiences.

"There is a lot of disappointment for travelling supporters," he said.

"No-one thought about the impact on them, the length of time it takes to get to Exeter on a Friday during rush hour. It is inconvenient. People have had to take time off work and can't return home until Saturday."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Liverpool have won the FA Cup seven times, although their last victory was 10 years ago

He admitted the BBC was "not the only culprit" and said decision-makers at Sky, BT, the FA and Premier League also needed to consider the fans.

"Liverpool supporters contribute to the atmosphere and make it a spectacle. Broadcasters would be disappointed if the stands were empty.

"Tickets have sold out and fans will travel, but if you keep doing this to supporters they will find themselves pushed out."

A BBC spokesperson said: "The trip for Liverpool fans to Exeter is no different to their visits to Swansea on a Monday night in the Premier League and a Wednesday trip to Southampton in the League Cup, both of which they have done in the last 12 months."

The FA said televising the match meant "the maximum amount of people would be given the opportunity" to see "one of the stand-out ties" of the round.

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