Mayor Andy Burnham calls for Man City-Liverpool FA Cup semi final to be moved from Wembley over train chaos

Rail engineering works has led to fears fans will struggle to get to the capital city for the big match at Wembley.
Wembley Stadium. Photo: Getty Images Wembley Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
Wembley Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says Manchester City’s FA Cup semi final against Liverpool should not take place at Wembley Stadium due to rail engineering works taking place that weekend.

Mr Burnham and his counterpart for the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram wrote to the Football Association (FA) asking for the match venue to be switched.

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They said fans travelling from the North West to London for the game over the Easter weekend will face transport chaos due to a lack of trains running.

The FA has said it is liaising with transport bodies to find a solution.

What did Mr Burnham say?

In the letter jointly written with Mr Rotheram, Mr Burnham pointed out there will be no trains running between London and Manchester over the Easter weekend as Network Rail is carrying out engineering works.

That will make travel to the semi final for thousands of fans extremely difficult, they said.

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The letter read: “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.

Mayor of Great Manchester, Andy BurnhamMayor of Great Manchester, Andy Burnham
Mayor of Great Manchester, Andy Burnham

“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.

“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.

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“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.”

Supporters’ groups have also expressed major concerns about Wembley staging the semi final given the transport issues.

What has the FA said?

An FA statement read: “The FA will be liaising closely with both Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC on all match arrangements, including supporters’ travel for the upcoming Emirates FA Cup semi-final fixture at Wembley Stadium.

“We are also continuing to work with both 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.”

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