Jordan Henderson speaks up for Liverpool supporters with strong criticism of FA Cup decision
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has launched a fierce tirade at the FA for their refusal to move the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City from Wembley.
The two clubs are scheduled to lock horns under the Arch for a place over Easter weekend. The winners can secure a place in the FA Cup final and take another step closer towards yet another trophy. Plenty is at stake. However, both clubs have written to the FA to express concern about the game taking place at Wembley amid travel chaos for both fans.
That’s after it emerged that trains are not running from the north-west into London that weekend, making travel arrangements difficult.
Indeed, the situation has even drawn a response from two sets of prominent politicians.
As it goes, the game will remain at Wembley. The FA’s response to the 3.30pm kick-off on April 16 is to lay on hundreds of coaches, all free of charge.
Nonetheless, Liverpool captain Henderson insists the fans’ needs should have been put first. And in this day and age, he thinks an alternative venue – somewhere in the north – would have made more sense.
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“Something that we’ve learned over the past couple of years is how important the fans are to football,” Jordan Henderson said.
“It is really disappointing to see that it’s a struggle. It’s got to be expensive for them to get there. I’ve been thinking a bit more about the fans. I think in many ways it’s their day and not being able to get down to London for different reasons – the cost of that …
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“So in my head, it would make sense to change it to a neutral (different) venue, especially with it being two teams from the north-west. It’s disappointing for the fans and I know the FA might be changing kick-off time to try and help and also putting coaches on for the fans to get down for both Liverpool and City fans, which hopefully helps. But yes, it’s not ideal for the fans for sure.”
FA Cup semi-finals – why the FA refused to budge
The FA decided way back in 2003 that all FA Cup semi-finals would be played at Wembley from 2007/08. That’s the season that the new Wembley opened – and they have been held there ever since.
And despite protests over the Liverpool v City tie on April 16, the FA has refused to buck the trend.
The FA even admits that supporters face “significant challenges” to get to and from the game that day.
The kick-off time falls within the traditional Saturday television blackout hours. However, because only three Premier League matches are kicking off at 3pm and no EFL games start at 3pm that day, there was no need for the FA to seek an exemption under Article 48 of the UEFA statutes.
The FA is also laying on a number of buses to Manchester City Women supporters that weekend. They are also in the capital for the Women’s FA Cup semi-final. Their game against West Ham takes place at Dagenham.
The FA statement added that it was working with Highways England to try to ensure smooth road journeys. Together, they will ensure any roadworks are put on hold to aid supporters travelling from the north-west.
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