Arsenal reschedule Boxing Day clash with Wolves

 

Arsenal's planned Boxing Day home match against Wolves has been put back 24 hours to December 27 because of proposed industrial action by London Underground drivers.

Although a strike could still be averted, the north London club said the Barclays Premier League game would have to be moved "due to the preparation period needed to safely operate Emirates Stadium by all the relevant agencies".

Chelsea announced yesterday their London derby with Fulham would go ahead despite the possible disruption.

A High Court judge was expected to decide today whether to halt the planned Boxing Day strike by drivers embroiled in a pay row.

London Underground bosses asked Mr Justice Eder to stop industrial action, during a High Court hearing in London yesterday.

A statement regarding the match postponement from Arsenal read: "This decision has had to be made now, before the result of the legal challenge to the proposed industrial action is finally known, due to the preparation period needed to safely operate Emirates Stadium by all the relevant agencies.

"The club has been liaising closely in order to make this decision, with all the relevant agencies, including the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, London Underground, the FA Premier League, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Islington Council.

"The paramount concern was always the duty of care towards the Arsenal supporters, Wolverhampton Wanderers supporters, matchday employees, workers and indeed everyone who was planning to attend the match on Boxing Day.

"In addition to the proposed industrial action on London Underground on Boxing Day, there would also have been no services operating on overground train services into London on this day.

"Also, normal parking restrictions close to the stadium would have still applied. This would have caused severe disruption, or at worst, inability for supporters or matchday employees and workers to get to Emirates Stadium.

"We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused supporters, but we feel that the right decision has been made based on a duty of care.

"All tickets purchased for this match are still valid for Tuesday, December 27."

PA

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