Tyne & Wear

Sunderland match move causes Great North Run clash

Runners crossing the Tyne Bridge in the Great North Run
Image caption The half marathon has 54,000 entrants

Football fans taking part in the Great North Run are facing a tough choice after a match was rescheduled so it now clashes with the event.

Sunderland's match against Stoke has been moved back to 18 September because of the Potters' European commitments.

Fans said it will cause problems and means they cannot do both and race organisers said they were disappointed.

Sunderland AFC said it understood the difficulties but the match had to be rescheduled.

The two teams were originally due to meet on 17 September but the game was pushed back after Stoke's progression in the Uefa Europa League group stages.

The kick-off will now be at 13:00 BST on the Sunday with the main start of the Great North Run, which has 54,000 entrants, at 10:40 BST.

'Desperately sorry'

Race organiser Nova International communications director David Hart said: "We are exceptionally disappointed.

"We have been planning the Great North Run for 18 months now. To find out 18 days before that on the biggest sporting day of the year in the North East that there's going to be a match with a one o'clock kick-off is disappointing news."

He said they were "desperately sorry" for the runners who were supporters of both clubs and were also concerned there would be challenges around public transport and on the roads.

Mr Hart said he thought the kick-off should be later so people could do both.

Sunderland AFC Head of Media and Communications, Louise Wanless, said: "We understand the difficulties supporters face when games have to be rescheduled and naturally the aim is always to minimise the impact on the club's loyal following.

"All parties were aware of the proximity of events such as the Great North Run during the rescheduling of this fixture and we fully sympathise with those who have been adversely affected.

"While it's not possible to meet the requirements of every supporter, both clubs have worked with the Premier League and Safety Advisory Group to confirm a practical new date and time for this games as quickly as possible."

Northumbria Police said it had spoken to parties involved to assess if it was appropriate for the match to go ahead and said it was.

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