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‘Enhanced police presence’ planned for Man Utd FA Cup game

In a season of fantastic Premier League clashes, yesterday’s match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford was another one to add to the collection. Liverpool took the lead in the first half, but were unable to kill the game off and ended up having to equalise in the closing stages following brilliant strikes from Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo.

It was the last time the two teams would meet this season, but it may not be the last time each set of fans meet – and that fact has got the British Transport Police feeling concerned.

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Police presence outside Old Trafford before a game against Nottingham Forest in August last year. Photo by Icon Sport

When and why are the British Transport Police planning an ‘enhanced police presence’?

Manchester United’s FA Cup semi-final against Coventry City on Sunday 21 April – which they reached by beating Liverpool in the quarter-final – has only been given the “medium risk” classification.

However, British Transport Police are concerned that Liverpool are also in action in London that day – their Premier League clash at Fulham kicks off an hour after the United game.

Given that trains from Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street both arrive at London Euston, authorities are keen to avoid any potential clashes.

Speaking to the Athletic, a spokesperson for the British Transport Police said: “The safety of rail passengers remains the force’s top priority and there will be an enhanced policing presence and specialist resources deployed across the rail network throughout the weekend.”

Other scheduling headaches

It cannot have been an easy decision to put Manchester United and Liverpool fans in London at the same time, but that is not the only scheduling headache the FA Cup has thrown up.

United’s semi-final opponents Coventry are at the centre of a major concern. Should they progress to the FA Cup final and also reach the Championship playoff final, they will be scheduled to play the former on 25 May and the latter just a day later on 26 May.

With the Sky Blues currently four points behind sixth-placed Norwich City, with a game in a hand, there is a real possibility that one of the finals will have to be moved.


Jamie Barton

A freelance football writer and podcaster, Jamie has appeared on/in the BBC World Service, PA Media, Charlton Athletic FC and Empire of the Kop, among others. He's attended matches all around the world, from Tranmere to Tokyo, and once had his bus home from the 2022 Champions League final in Paris delayed by 28 hours.

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