February 28, 2018 / 3:14 PM / 7 months ago

Soccer: Mayor slams decision to stage Liverpool match on Grand National day

(Reuters) - City mayor Joe Anderson has described as “ridiculous” the decision to stage Liverpool’s Premier League match at home to Bournemouth in April just minutes after the Grand National horse race starts at nearby Aintree.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool vs West Ham United - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - February 24, 2018 Liverpool fans before the match REUTERS/Peter Powell/Files

Bournemouth’s visit to Anfield has been chosen for live TV coverage and will kick off 15 minutes after the start of the famous National Hunt race four miles away.

“Have just seen that Liverpool v Bournemouth is to be played on Saturday 14th April at 17.30pm the same day as the Grand National... need urgent meeting with @MerseyPolice they simply will not cope given the normal pressure of a Saturday. #madness,” Anderson wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

When a Twitter user said the Merseyside Police had given the green light to both events being held on that day, Anderson replied: “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 the first time for 24 years that Liverpool will play at home on the same day as the Grand National.

The Merseyside club hosted Ipswich Town in April 1994 at 1130 local time in front of a crowd of just 30,485 and the race followed at 1550.

“As with each year, we’re working closely with the Police and transport providers but we don’t anticipate it affecting racegoers travelling to Aintree for Grand National Day,” Aintree communications manager Grant Rowley told the Liverpool Echo.

“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 racegoers when at Aintree Racecourse.

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

There will be a crowd of about 70,000 for the race at Aintree with a further 54,000 expected at Anfield.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru

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