Police 'satisfied' they can cope with Liverpool & Grand National fixture clash

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Anfield and Aintree
Anfield and Aintree are only around four miles apart

Police say they are satisfied they can cope with Liverpool playing at home just minutes after the start of the Grand National on 14 April.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has called the clash "madness".

The Premier League match against Bournemouth at Anfield has been chosen for live TV coverage and will kick off at 17:30 BST.

That is 15 minutes after the start of the famous race, four miles away at Aintree.

It is the first time for 24 years the Reds have been at home on the same day as the Grand National.

In April 1994, Liverpool kicked off at 11:30 against Ipswich in front of a crowd of just 30,485 and the race followed at 15:50.

Moving the match to the following day this year was not an option as 15 April is the 29th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and Liverpool have not played on that date since the tragedy.

Aintree is set for a crowd of about 70,000 while Anfield can expect 53,000 fans.

In a statement, Merseyside Police says it is "satisfied that the force has sufficient resources to provide a professional policing response to both the Grand National and the Liverpool v Bournemouth game."

It adds: "The staggered finish times of these events will assist with our policing operations, and will ensure that both race-goers and football fans can attend the respective events safely."

Mayor Joe Anderson

On Tuesday, mayor Anderson tweeted:external-link "The costs of the overtime for police will fall on the taxpayer and can the transport network cope? Seems a ridiculous decision to suit TV again."

It is understood that no Premier League match can take place without the agreement of a club's safety advisory group, which includes representatives from local statutory bodies.

Liverpool v Bournemouth is also considered a low-risk match from a policing perspective.

Seven races are held at Aintree on Grand National Day, with the first due off at 13:45 and the last at 18:15.

A crowd of around 70,000 is likely at the racecourse with a further 53,000 expected at Anfield.

It was announced on Tuesday the match would move from 15:00 to 17:30 and be live on BT Sport.

An Aintree spokesman said: "As with each year, we're working closely with the police and transport providers but we don't anticipate it affecting race-goers travelling to Aintree for Grand National day.

"People will be heading to Aintree hours before the football crowd goes to Anfield and leaving Aintree well before the football finishes, but as with every race day, we will do everything possible to ensure the best customer experience for our race-goers when at Aintree Racecourse.

"Grand National Day is already close to a sell-out but, of course, it's a shame for anyone who wanted to attend both events."

Another fixture change on 14 April sees Manchester City travel to Wembley to play Tottenham in a match that kicks off at 19:45.

It had originally been scheduled for 15:00 and could be the day when Pep Guardiola's team win the Premier League title.

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