Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final against fellow Northern English club Manchester City is set to be played at Wembley Stadium, located in the Southern English city of London, roughly 200 miles away. The game is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, 3:30PM BST.
This is despite concerns being expressed by both clubs’ supporter groups about the location of the final. The Mayors of both Liverpool and Manchester expressed their disapproval as well in a joint statement. Fans will need to travel from the Liverpool and Manchester areas on a weekend when travel disruptions are planned on the connecting railway lines.
The FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Manchester City will take place at Wembley on April 16 at 330pm. The FA will charter 100 free return bus services from Anfield and the Etihad.— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) March 25, 2022
The FA said that “unessential roadworks” will be paused on the day to ease the journey for fans, reports the BBC.
If a standard bus holds an average of 60 passengers, that’s provision for 6000 fans of both clubs in total, to travel to and from London. In comparison, Wembley stadium has 90,000 seats. If roughly 17,000 seats are reserved for corporate guests, that’s 67,000 fans without FA-provided transport to the venue.
SInce 2008, the FA Cup semi-final has been held at Wembley, a neutral venue and shiny new “national” stadium. The FA has a 30-year agreement to host games there to finance the stadium’s construction. But this comes at the expense of fans’ incomes and the carbon impact of shipping fans, players, and staff 200 miles south instead of a location close to the 35-mile stretch separating Liverpool and Manchester. Something something fans are the soul of football, the UK is a climate champion, etc., etc....am I right?