The clubs, fans, and even the respective city mayors have all pushed the English FA to change the venue for Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City away from Wembley but the game is likely to go ahead at the home of England’s National Team.
That’s the latest, with The FA said to have so far been resistant to various entreatments to hold the cup clash at a location more convenient to supporters of the involved clubs, which is of particular concern due to train service suspensions on the weekend of the match.
A semi-final date at Wembley for two northern clubs wouldn’t make a great deal of sense at the best of times, but with long-scheduled track maintenance set for Easter meaning no train service to London from Liverpool or Manchester, it seems a preposterous choice.
Until 2008, semi-finals in the FA Cup were commonly held at neutral grounds around the country—including Villa Park in Birmingham, which will be free as Aston Villa has been set to play Liverpool on the weekend in question and that match has now been delayed.
The construction of new Wembley, though, left the FA seeking increased revenue streams to justify the costs of building the national team’s new home, and so as is often the case, financial concerns were given precedence over fan interests by the governing body.
If, as appears almost certain now, the game remains at Wembley despite the additional complications for travelling supporters this year, it will serve as a stark reminder that at the end of the day those who run the game will always seek to put profit ahead of people.