- Tyne Tees
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Police say planning for the upcoming derby football match is well underway. The game between Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC is on February 1 at 12.45pm. Extra police officers will be on duty in both Newcastle and Sunderland.
Roads in Newcastle city centre are expected to be extremely busy on derby day and Sunderland fans are being advised to make the most of free coach travel being provided by Sunderland AFC.
The coaches leave the Stadium of Light at 10.30am from the Green Car Park. There will be direct Metro services for Sunderland supporters on match day. Northern Rail will be providing a train service specifically for supporters, direct from Sunderland station to Newcastle Central Station and back.
A complimentary bus service to and from the Stadium of Light to St James’ Park is available for all Sunderland supporters with a valid match ticket for the forthcoming Tyne-Wear derby on Saturday 1st February.
The game kicks off at 12:45pm and buses will depart from 10:30am.
The bus convoy will be escorted by Northumbria Police for the duration of the journey.
The move follows a much-publicised row between the two football and clubs and Northumbria Polcie over travel arrangements for fans and kick-off times.
Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, has urged the police to "work through" any issues with Newcastle United and Sunderland ahead of next month's Tyne-Wear derby.
The commissioner said:
The Premier League clash is scheduled to kick off at 12:45pm on Saturday 1 February.
Steve Wraith, Editor of Toon Talk Fanzine has tweeted following the police request to make the match an 'organised transport only' game, saying both sets of fans should use buses, not because police say, but because it makes sense.
Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have said they are 'surprised and disappointed' with the statement from Northumbria Police stating that police cannot direct changes to kick off times.
Both clubs have said they have previously tried to reach an agreement with Northumbria Police over kick off times being 3pm or later, but that the police have refused to police games after 1.30pm.
The two clubs have said they have evidence of correspondence with Northumbria Police. The correspondence is said to say that the police would not be prepared to police evening fixtures.
Sunderland AFC are withdrawing the terms and conditions of ticket sales, which previously meant supporters must use official transport. The arrangements to provide complimentary buses and supporters branch transport will remain in place and Sunderland AFC is advising fans this is the safest option.
Northumbria Police have released clarification about the up-coming derby match between Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United. the had originally requested that the game becomes a 'bubble' match where fans must use organised transport.
Now, they have clarified that police cannot and will not direct supporters, adding that the police cannot change kick off times.
Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have launched a joint campaign against Northumbria Police after their refusal to allow late afternoon or early evening kick off times for the derby.
The two clubs have released a joint statement refusing to let police decide on match times.
Northumbria police had requested the match becomes a 'bubble' game where only organised transport is allowed. Sunderland has scrapped this.