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Fans call for FA Cup semi-final venue change

Supporters organisations at Liverpool and Manchester City are calling on the FA to move their semi-final in April from Wembley after learning of rail disruption.

The weekend of the semi-final sees engineering works taking place on the main line between the north west and London making getting to and from the fixture by train practically impossible.

In a joint statement, Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly and Manchester City’s 1894 groups are urging the FA to move the match to a closer venue.

They said: “Over the upcoming Easter weekend, when the game is scheduled, there are no trains between Euston and Milton Keynes, meaning there is no direct train to London from either Liverpool or Manchester.

“More than 64,000 travelling supporters will be forced on to the roads, which will already be over-burdened with bank holiday traffic.”

The semi-finals will be taking place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th April, with Liverpool playing Manchester City and Chelsea taking on Crystal Palace.

Kick-off times have yet to be announced but they are expected to be evening starts to accommodate the FA’s broadcast partners.

“For the other semi-final between Chelsea and Crystal Palace, Wembley makes sense. For Liverpool and City it makes no sense,” the fan groups say.

“City and Liverpool are less than 40 miles apart and there are plenty of grounds big enough far closer than Wembley to stage such a prestigious game.

“We appreciate ties of this magnitude need forward planning, but the issue of how two sets of supporters will be able to travel and watch their teams has been ignored. Network Rail will have had their works scheduled, as is often the case over public holidays, for months.”

FSA chair Malcolm Clarke called on the FA and transport authorities to find a solution.

“While fans appreciate the need for work on the railways it would make sense to avoid the FA Cup semi-final weekend given the numbers travelling,” Malcolm said.

“The FA Cup semi-finals have featured at least one team from the north-west every year since 2011, so it was hardly unexpected that this could happen.”

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