Bristol City-Cardiff Severnside derby moved again after policing row
Bristol City's Severnside derby with Cardiff has been moved after a row over policing the fixture.
The Championship game was originally selected by Sky Sports for live TV coverage on Saturday, November 4 at 5:30 p.m.
It was subsequently scheduled to take place the previous evening with a 7:45 p.m. kick-off after Avon and Somerset Police indicated a Friday night game was preferable to a Saturday match.
Both clubs say they fully supported this decision and were working with police and the local Safety Advisory Group on various additional measures due to the risk of disorder.
However, the game has now reverted back to Nov. 4 kicking off at noon, leaving both the English Football League and Bristol City disappointed by the way the local police force has handled the situation.
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "Despite achieving an agreement in principle, Avon and Somerset Police subsequently made a number of representations to the Safety Advisory Group and it became clear that they were not prepared to provide the police resources they felt were necessary away from Ashton Gate itself to prevent any possible disorder.
"In any event, Bristol City had agreed to meet the costs of the police deployed at the stadium.
"The safety of spectators at EFL matches will always be our primary consideration when scheduling fixtures, yet we are disappointed at today's developments and will be seeking a meeting with Avon and Somerset Police force in relation to this matter at the earliest possible opportunity, as the clubs that fall within that area should not be disadvantaged."
Avon and Somerset Police said their staffing resources meant the fixture, which has been blighted by crowd trouble in the past, had to be switched back to a Saturday.
"Public safety is an absolute priority and this is something we will never compromise on,'' Avon and Somerset Police said in a statement .
"There was a significant amount of disorder in the stadium during the reverse fixture last year and so we needed to be confident we had sufficient resources in place should there be a repeat of any issues during this year's match in Bristol.
"Unfortunately the fixture also falls on one of the busiest weekends of the year with many Bonfire Night and Halloween celebrations also taking place and we only have a finite number of officers.
"The recommendation of both the independent Safety Advisory Group and the other emergency services was that the fixture should not take place on Friday night in order to prevent excessive drinking and in the interests of public safety.
"We enjoy a fantastic working relationship with the club and Ashton Gate, who in the spirit of that co-operation have asked the EFL to revert back to original timings."
But Bristol City also noted their disappointment that the fixture had been switched again after the two clubs had proposed measures to risk the reduce of crowd disorder.
These included a reduction in the number of tickets being made available to away supporters, Cardiff assisting with aspects of the stewarding operation and a review of how visiting fans would be transported to and from Ashton Gate.
Bristol City chief executive officer Mark Ashton said: "It is hugely disappointing for both us and Ashton Gate Stadium that the match has since been switched back to the Saturday."
As a result of the change, Sky Sports have now selected the Wolves-Fulham game for live coverage on Nov. 3.