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Update on FA Cup Away Allocation at the Emirates

Following the decision by Arsenal and Islington Council's Safety Advisory Group not to give Liverpool FC supporters the full 15% allocation for the FA Cup 5th Round match at the Emirates, the Liverpool Supporters' Union has been working to identify the reasons behind the ruling. We have contacted Arsenal FC, the Chairman of the FA Challenge Cup Committee, Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police. We are now able to detail the progress to date: 
  • Arsenal FC have replied to the Union stating that the decision taken on the allocation "is confidential and cannot be disclosed." Adding that they "can confirm that the Club is comfortable with its decision that Liverpool supporters’ allocation should be just over 5,000 on safety grounds."
  • The Chairman of the FA Challenge Cup Committee, Darren Eales, forwarded our e-mail to the FA's competition's manager who has informed us that the situation will be raised with the FA's Challenge Cup Committee. We have yet to have a further response.
  • We submitted a Freedom of Information Request to Islington Council to ascertain the reasons behind the Safety Advisory Groups decision not to give Liverpool FC the full 15% allocation. The response we received from Islington Council can be read here.
  • We also submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request to the Metropolitan Police. Their response stated "it will not be possible to respond to your request within the cost threshold" The cost threshold for an FOI response is £450. We will keep working to obtain a suitable response.
 
Our work on this has also been supplemented by that of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust. Everton FC have also received the same allocation as LFC and Spurs at the Emirates, and the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has also written to the FA. He received the following reply from the FA on Twitter:
 
@joeforliverpool @Everton @Arsenal 1/2 FA Cup rules allow away allocations of 15% but only if the local Safety Advisory Group (Police, etc).
 
@joeforliverpool @Everton 2/2 ...agrees. They provide the health & safety cert for the tie to go ahead & The FA has to accept their decision
 
We have subsequently been in contact with Joe Anderson. 
 
While we believe that the Safety Advisory Group's decision is not valid, as we have highlighted previously we do acknowledge that decisions made with safety in mind for supporters are important. However, we also feel that the FA's rules should be adhered to. The use of the Upper Tier for away fans was deemed unsuitable by Arsenal's Safety Advisory Group in March 2013. If a non league club had a stadium that was unable to meet the safety rules of the competition they would not be able to play their games at the stadium or even take part in the competition. This being the case, is it therefore appropriate that Arsenal FC are unable to fulfil the 15% away allocation due to safety reasons, without having to make the necessary modifications to the Emirates to meet these requirements?
 
We will be writing to the FA and Arsenal FC again seeking intervention in this matter and to press for the Upper Tier to be used for away supporters and asking that Arsenal make the necessary changes to the Emirates to ensure that a 15% away allocation can be fulfilled entirely next season.


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