WEST Yorkshire Police today agreed to a compromise in the row over travel restrictions for fans attending the Yorkshire derby match between Huddersfield Town and Hull City later this month.
The row had reached the House of Commons after the kick-off for the Championship clash was put back to 5.20pm to allow the game to be televised, and concern over policing costs and potential crowd control issues led police to rule that Hull fans would only be admitted to the ground if they travel on official club transport.
But today, police agreed that supporters would be allowed to travel independently to a park and ride side at Hartshead Moor services on the M62.
They also agreed to raise the Hull fans’ ticket allocation for the March 30 match from 1,500 to 1,700.
West Yorkshire assistant chief constable Craig Guildford, said: “We have listened carefully to the concerns of fans and those who have raised concerns on their behalf.
“Consequently the transport arrangements have been modified to facilitate free parking in West Yorkshire for fans wishing to travel independently. This will be at the Hartshead Moor services between junctions 25 and 26 of the M62 and will be stewarded by Hull City officials who have agreed to provide tickets at the services on the day to Hull City fans who reside outside the area.
“Once they have collected their tickets, those fans will be taken to the ground on buses provided by Hull City. Local arrangements will be made to accommodate a small number of Hull fans who live in Huddersfield and for those who have already purchased train tickets.”
He added that disabled fans would be able to make “normal travel arrangements”.
Hull City said in a statement: “This is not the ideal solution for the club or its fans. However, with a further increase in the ticketing allocation to 1,700, we believe this is the most practical and safest solution available to ensure that the team enjoys its usual travelling support in an important game. Tiger Travel will depart from the KC Stadium, and will be stopping at both Goole and Ferrybridge services en route to the rendezvous point at Hartshead Moor services. Timings will be released in due course.”
Earlier this week, Hull North Labour MP Diana Johnson, the Shadow Crime and Security Minister, raised the issue in the Commons, asking for a debate on “sensible guidelines” for police forces considering such restrictions.
One City fan, 15-year-old Louis Cooper from Manchester, had instructed lawyers to challenge the restrictions, claiming they would force him to miss the game.