The Football Association will offer free buses for up to 5,000 Manchester City and Liverpool fans to attend their FA Cup semifinal match at Wembley Stadium in response to calls for a venue change because of expected rail service disruptions. (More Football News)
The FA confirmed on Friday that the game will be April 16 at Wembley despite no trains running between either city and London that weekend because of engineering work.
The mayors of both cities joined forces this week to urge that the venue be moved to the northwest, arguing that without direct trains, supporters will be forced to drive amid rising fuel prices, fly or make overnight accommodations.
To ease the strain, the FA said 100 buses will be provided on game day from both Anfield and Etihad Stadium to Wembley and back in the early evening.
“This will ensure that up to 5,000 Liverpool and Manchester City supporters will be able to travel to Wembley Stadium free of charge for their semifinal,” the FA said in a statement.
Wembley’s capacity is 90,000.
“We recognize the significant challenges that are being faced by some Liverpool and Manchester City supporters with train services being severely limited due to essential engineering works being carried out over the (Easter) holiday weekend,” it added.
The FA also said it is working with national highway officials.
“Hundreds of miles of unessential roadworks will be put on hold to help supporters enjoy the occasion and enhance their journeys, and these motorists are encouraged to make sure that their vehicles are roadworthy before setting off,” it said.
City’s women’s team plays earlier that day at West Ham in an FA Cup semifinal match and the FA has “committed to provide a number of free return bus services” for fans.
On Thursday, City told its fans it had secured 50 buses for the Liverpool match with tickets priced at 40 pounds ($53) per person.