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Decision on crunch derby venue nears



High hopes: Goodison Park

High hopes: Goodison Park


High hopes: Goodison Park

A decision on whether the Merseyside derby on June 21 can be safely played at Goodison Park will not be taken until tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph Sport understands the relevant documents were not received until last Friday and the members of Liverpool City Council's safety advisory group, who had originally been due to meet yesterday, need more time to read them.

The derby was one of only two games in the initial rounds of Premier League fixtures to have 'venue TBC' at the side, with all other games in the restart having been given the go-ahead to be played at the usual home venue.

The safety advisory group can only make a decision on Goodison's suitability to host the fixture. If it decides it is not, the clubs and the Premier League must then look at a suitable neutral venue.

Everton are understood to be happy to host the fixture, where local rivals Liverpool could wrap up the title with a win if closest challengers Manchester City lose to Arsenal on June 17.

The other match still to be confirmed is Manchester City’s game against Liverpool on July 2.

The derby had been on a list of fixtures which the UK’s football policing lead, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, said local forces had requested to be played at a neutral venue due to public health fears amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Merseyside Police appeared to contradict DCC Roberts by saying they were happy to police matches in Liverpool.

The Reds can secure the title with six more points irrespective of what City do, which means they could wrap up the crown at Anfield against Crystal Palace on Wednesday, June 24.

Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool, would now be in favour of the Merseyside derby taking place at Everton later this month.

While he is adamant that the general public should stay away from venues, he has withdrawn his complaint at the two Merseyside grounds staging fixtures.

“We are in a better place than we were four weeks ago and we’ve been able to convey why it’s so important nobody congregates outside or near grounds,” he said.

“We have had the opportunity since then to speak to fans and the clubs have done their part and got the message across.”

Belfast Telegraph