Council object to Everton v Liverpool derby kick-off time

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Liverpool City Council has threatened to take legal action if the Premier League refuse a request to change the kick-off time of February's Merseyside derby.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 27, 2014: Liverpool's Mario Balotelli clashes with Everton's Tony Hibbert during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The match at Goodison Park is scheduled to take place at 5.30pm on Saturday February 7 and be televised by Sky Sports.

Merseyside Police have raised their concerns about the timing of the match, which has directly resulted in it being elevated to a Category C fixture with a high risk of disorder.

The police, supported by Liverpool City Council's Licensing Committee, want the match to start earlier.

"Merseyside Police do not support this fixture being played at 1730 on Saturday February 7 2015 and reiterate our position that this fixture should have a kick-off time of no later than 1.30pm on a weekend," said the police in a report to a special meeting of the ground safety advisory committee.

Everton informed the Premier League of the police's objections on December 9 and the issue will be discussed on Tuesday afternoon by the council's licensing committee, which is set to also write to the Premier League with the proviso it "will take legal advice on all appropriate options to enforce the position" in the event of no change of kick-off time being determined.

The police report stressed there was no specific intelligence indicating any organised disorder is planned but stated the wider implications of a late kick-off meant they had to take action now.

"I firmly believe that, the police, the clubs, and the city council have a responsibility to minimise the likelihood of those problems and their impact, not only on supporters within the footprint of the stadium, but also the wider community," said the report.

"An evening kick-off time at a weekend is undoubtedly the most challenging and gives us the least chance of meeting our responsibilities.

"It is for this reason we, the police have specifically requested that this fixture should have a lunchtime kick-off."

PA

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