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Crystal Palace believes its supporters are “being punished.”
When Palace visited Brighton in the Premier League in November, six arrests were made and two stewards were hospitalised in a game that Simon Nelson, the chief inspector who led the policing operation for the match, referred to as “a return to the dark days of football.” A report by Sussex Police said weapons were found discarded at the Amex Stadium, however, they apologised eight days later, saying “no such items were found” and the “information was incorrect.”
That game kicked off at 19:45 local time, and Palace assumed the FA Cup tie would be played during the daytime.
“We’re surprised and disappointed that our FA Cup match against Brighton has been scheduled for a Monday evening,” Palace said in a statement.
“We raised concerns about playing the league match between the two clubs at night, as there have been previous issues when we played evening games in the Championship, but felt we were presented with a no option scenario. Given the events that occurred, we assumed that this time what we considered to be good sense would prevail and the game would be scheduled as an early daytime kick off. We are also disappointed that our ticket allocation for the FA Cup match has again been restricted to 2,000 when we should be entitled to more than 4,600 tickets under normal FA Cup rules.”
According to the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield, a lunchtime kick-off was sought by a safety advisory committee consisting of representatives from Albion, Sussex Police, other emergency services, transport providers, and other partners.
The rivalry between Palace and Brighton developed in the 1970s, as the clubs rose in tandem from the third division of English football to the first. They were piloted by Alan Mullery and Terry Venables, respectively, who didn’t get along while playing together at Tottenham Hotspur. The feud translated to trouble in the terraces.
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