Labour MP for Manchester Central, Lucy Powell, has written to the FA asking them to switch the venue for the FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Liverpool FC, from Wembley to what some have described as “a more accessible stadium”.
The FA is under pressure to move the game out of London, which is due to take place on Saturday April 16 at 3.30pm, after it emerged that due to engineering work, there will be no direct rail services between both cities and London.
Is the match going ahead as normal?
Yes. At the time of publishing and despite appeals made by both mayors of Manchester and Liverpool, the FA is insisting the semi-final takes place at Wembley.
The match is due to kick-off at 3.30pm on Saturday April 16, 2022.
Why have there been calls to switch the venue away from Wembley Stadium?
Longstanding engineering work is due to take place on the railway lines between April 15 and April 18.
This means there neither city will be running trains to or from London.
Those calling for the venue to be switched have also said that due to the game taking place over the Easter bank holiday weekend there will be more traffic on the roads.
The worry is that the combination of increased number of football fans travelling to London by car and bank holiday weekend traffic could potentially disruptive.
What are the clubs and the FA doing to help?
The FA announced on Friday March 25 that they will cover the costs of sending 100 coaches to the game.
“We are pleased to announce that a limited number of free return bus services will be provided for both the Emirates FA Cup and Vitality Women’s FA Cup semi-finals involving Liverpool and Manchester City on Saturday 16 April to support fans from the North West who wish to travel to and from London,” said a FA spokesperson.
“The FA will charter 100 buses from Anfield and the Etihad Stadium respectively to Wembley Stadium and back. This will ensure that up to 5,000 Liverpool and Manchester City supporters will be able to travel to Wembley Stadium free of charge for their semi-final tie.
“These bus schedules are subject to availability, must be pre-booked, and the clubs will provide more information in due course.”
The spokesperson added: “In addition, we are working with our partners at National Highways to ensure that the road networks are running as efficiently as possible over the Easter period.
“Hundreds of miles of unessential roadworks will be put on hold to help supporters enjoy the occasion and enhance their journeys, and these motorists are encouraged to make sure that their vehicles are roadworthy before setting off.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City has committed to subsidising 50 coaches for the game - this means fans would pay £40 each for the journey to London and back to Manchester.
The club also said it would be publishing details next week on how fans can purchase both a seat on one of the coaches and a ticket to the match.
Car parking at Wembley Stadium
Limited pre-booked car parking is available at Wembley Stadium and further details can be seen here.
Blue badge holders are advised to select the appropriate category when pre-booking to avoid long distances to and from the stadium.