Wembley pubs are set to be split for Liverpool and Everton FC fans ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup semi-final, keeping rival supporters – and possibly some families – apart on the big day.
Bars and pubs within a mile radius of Wembley Stadium are following strict segregation policies set by the Metropolitan Police which will allocate the licensed premises as either solely Red or Blue.
There will also be a street drinking ban put into force to try and ensure that the rivalry between the two Merseyside teams stays friendly.
Pubs to the east of Wembley will be designated for Liverpool FC fans, while those to the west will only be letting Everton fans in.
Bars will also close an hour before the 12:30pm kick-off and re-open only 15 minutes after the game starts, leaving those unable to get last-minute tickets scrambling to find a TV screen to watch the eagerly-awaited semi-final.
Metropolitan Police licensing officers said that their priority is to ensure safety on Wembley match days and that anyone found drinking on the street would have their alcohol confiscated from them.
A spokesman for Metropolitan Police said: “Decisions have been made as to which licensed premises supporters may attend based on which entrances fans will be accessing the stadium, but the decision as to whether or not mixed supporter families will be let in, lies with the licensees.”
Merseyside football fans have expressed their “disgust” at the segregation policies due to be in place for the match on April 14th.
John Wheelan, from Norris Green, told JMU Journalism: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting. They clearly don’t understand the culture of Merseyside and Scousers. What happens when some families are split red and blue, does that mean they have to be split up? I feel like Scousers are just being singled out as this is the first time this has ever been put into action, it’s not right at all.”
However, it is thought that the same restrictions applied to rival fans from Manchester when United and City met in last year’s semi-final.
David Atwell, from Maghull, told JMU Journalism: “Do they not understand that building a divide will only end up making things a lot worse. There is no city in Britain with two teams more civilised to each other, this has been proven time and time again. Will we never get the respect we deserve as Scousers?”
Next Saturday will be a huge day for sport in the city, with not only the all-Merseyside FA Cup semi-final at Wembley falling on April 14th, but also the 2012 John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree racecourse.
Scouser Tony Bellew’s British light-heavyweight title fight defence against Danny McIntosh at the Liverpool Echo Arena was also due to take place that weekend, though that has now been rearranged for Friday April 27th as McIntosh has a chest infection.