Labor has joined calls to move next month’s FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Liverpool from Wembley.
The clash between the Premier League’s two top clubs is due to be played at the National Stadium over Easter weekend, when long-planned construction work means that direct trains from the North West to London are unavailable.
Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell has also written to the Football Association, highlighting the travel and cost difficulties for fans hoping to attend the game on April 16 or 17.
Labour’s call comes on top of those already made by supporters’ groups of both clubs, as well as the mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City area.
A Labor statement said: “Labour is today demanding that next month’s Liverpool v Manchester City semi-final be postponed due to rail works preventing supporters from traveling to the game.
“The much-anticipated game between two Premier League title winners risks having few fans from either team as construction work at London Euston and Milton Keynes means travel to and from the game will be virtually impossible. “
Ms Powell added in her letter to the FA: “In the midst of a livelihood crisis, fans should not have to struggle to pay extra for expensive travel or accommodation to attend the Wembley game.
“It should be a priority for the FA to ensure fans are not banned from attending this game because of the travel difficulties.”
When asked by the PA news agency, the FA said its position had not changed since a statement on Monday in which it pledged to work with clubs and transport authorities to ensure supporters can travel to and from Wembley.
It is understood the governing body figured around 2,500 fans from each club intended to travel by train from the North West.
The statement read: “The FA will work closely with Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC on all match arrangements, including fan travel for the upcoming Emirates FA Cup semi-final match at Wembley Stadium. More details will be announced in due course.
“We continue to work with both Network Rail and National Express to find a solution to allow fans of both teams to travel to and from the game with as little disruption as possible.”
Hosting the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley has been an important source of income for the FA.
It was considered playing this year’s games on both weekends – April 9-10 and April 23-24 – but either could have posed problems for clubs involved in European competitions. Railway construction work takes place on all three weekends.
The FA is yet to finalize the exact dates and kick-off times for both the City v Liverpool game and the other semi-final between Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
Old Trafford has been suggested as a possible alternative venue but is only available on April 17 due to Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Norwich the previous day.
Neither City nor Liverpool have commented. City are understood to be making inquiries about bus availability to offer additional travel packages for their fans.
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