Andy Burnham urges the FA to move City’s FA Cup semi-final away from Wembley


Major Andy Burnham has written to the Football Association to demand the FA Cup semi-final between City and Liverpool is moved from Wembley. The semi is due to take place at the national stadium in London on April 16 or 17, the Easter weekend.

But long-standing railway engineering works mean there will be no direct trains between Manchester or Liverpool and London that weekend. Man City Fans have dubbed the arrangement ‘a complete shambles’ and have called for a change of venue to help supporters get to the game.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 supporters from the two clubs are expected to travel. Today Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and his counterpart in Liverpool Steve Rotheram published a joint letter they have sent to the FA.

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In the letter, the metro mayors state: “The FA Cup is a proud English tradition – and no region has a richer or more successful relationship with the competition than the North West.

“As you will know, Liverpool and Manchester City will contest one of this season’s semi-finals over the Easter Weekend. However, as you will also be aware, Network Rail are undertaking works to the railway that mean no services will be running between either Liverpool or Manchester and the capital over that same weekend.

“This leaves tens of thousands of fans from all over our region in an unfair position – as supporters’ groups from both clubs have made clear today. We are writing in support of them. 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. any environmental impact is considered.

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“There are also significant logistical and safety considerations. With of fans making the long journey south, there will be huge numbers all 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.

“We understand that the engineering works on the West Coast Mainline have been scheduled since 2019 and that the FA was explicitly made aware of them last autumn. Given that, and the high likelihood that a Liverpool or Manchester team would make this stage of the competition , we can only conclude that the FA failed to give due thought and consideration to the interests of supporters.

“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.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has written to the FA

“We believe the most obvious solution is to move this game to a more accessible stadium and offer to work constructively with you to make this happen. We also ask you to work with supporters’ groups from both clubs to find a solution acceptable to all parties that allows this games to be the celebration of two great teams we all want it to be.

“We look forward to your response.”

The FA has been approached for a response.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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