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Gillingham FA Cup tie with Stoke in doubt


Gillingham's FA Cup third-round match with Stoke tomorrow could be postponed on police advice, according to Medway Council.

The npower League Two side are due to face their Barclays Premier League opponents at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

But Medway Council have revealed that police had advised them it would be unsafe for the game to go ahead without a police presence and had therefore issued a prohibition notice requiring their presence at the stadium.

A Medway Council spokesman said: "We fully understand that Saturday's match between Gillingham and Stoke is a very important game and one that means a huge amount to all the thousands of fans that have bought tickets.

"Following police advice we have been left with no choice but to issue a prohibition notice requiring the presence of the police within Priestfield Stadium.

"We have received advice from Kent Police that they have specific intelligence that it would be unsafe for the match to go ahead without them being present within the ground.

"However, we understand there is a dispute between the football club and Kent Police about the costs of policing the stadium, which could leave the sell-out match without any police officers attending.

"As the licensing authority, it is our responsibility to ensure the match is safe for all fans and residents and we must rely on advice and intelligence from Kent Police on this matter.

"We fully sympathise with all the fans and we sincerely wish it had not got to this stage.

"We now sincerely hope that the football club and the police get together urgently to resolve this matter and enable the match to go ahead."