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.
"Police forces up and down the country have been able to police high-profile derby matches for years, including most recently the first Welsh derby in the Premier League, Cardiff v Swansea, on Sunday 3rdNovember at 4:00pm, Arsenal v Tottenham at 5:15pm on Saturday 4th January, and Manchester City v Manchester United on Sunday 22nd September at 4:00pm.
In recent years Northumbria Police have rejected every request made by the clubs for later kick-off slots including Saturday 5:30pm, Sunday 4:00pm and Monday 8:00pm."
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.
"For Northumbria Police therefore to issue a statement stating that they do not direct changes to kick-off times is quite frankly false and absurd - and conflicts with the respectful and responsible manner in which both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have engaged with the police over many years with regard to the derby fixture."
In light of Northumbria Police's latest statement, Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC will now inform the Premier League that all future fixtures between the two clubs will be available for kick-off times to suit the clubs, the League and their broadcast partners, if applicable, and will expect Northumbria Police to police these games, especially given the considerable costs both clubs incur for such special police services.
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