Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Police call for weekday only derby matches in Sheffield

Sheffield Wednesday's ground Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Policing last season's Sheffield derby at Hillsborough cost £203,000

Police in Sheffield have said they no longer want football matches between the city's two teams to take place at weekends.

South Yorkshire Police said they had to balance policing matches "while maintaining our high levels of service for the public whom we serve".

The force has written to the English Football League (EFL) to ask for derby fixtures to take place on weeknights.

The March game between the Championship sides has been moved to Monday night.

A BBC investigation showed that last year's fixture between Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United at Hillsborough was the most expensive policing operation for a match in England, costing £203,000. The home club was billed £41,000 by the police.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts has said the force makes a "significant loss" policing football games across the county.

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In a statement, DCC Roberts said: "We must balance this type of operation and the resource it requires against our resilience to provide a service to the wider public of South Yorkshire, to ensure that everyone continues to receive the support and response they quite rightly expect from their local police."

He said he had told the EFL that "this support is achievable and sustainable if derby fixtures take place on weeknights".

The force said it was consulting with fans about the change.

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