Liverpool and Manchester mayors want FA Cup semi-final switched from Wembley

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
Wembley
Wembley is used to host both the FA Cup semi-finals

The FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Manchester City should be moved from Wembley, say the mayors of both cities.

The game is scheduled to take place on the weekend of 16 and 17 April.

However, engineering works mean no trains are running from either city to or from London from 15 to 18 April.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram both say the game should be held at a "more accessible stadium".

City subsequently said they will provide 50 coaches offering subsidised travel for supporters, with places available for £40 each.

However, in a joint letter to the Football Association, Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram said: "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 kick-off."

The pair said they understood the engineering works had "been scheduled since 2019 and that the FA was explicably made aware of them last autumn".

They added: "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."

Prior to the letter, the FA said it was liaising with both clubs and working with Network Rail and National Express to find a solution "so that supporters of both teams are able to travel to and from the fixture with as minimal disruption as possible".

The other FA Cup semi-final is between London clubs Chelsea and Crystal Palace so there is no issue over the venue.

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