Tube strike postpones Boxing Day clash
By Football News
Arsenal's match against West Ham on Boxing Day has been postponed due to proposed industrial action on the London Underground.
The ASLEF union confirmed the planned Tube strike will go ahead after a ballot on Monday, with the action likely to cause chaos to fans travelling to the Gunners' 60,000 capacity stadium on the underground system.
The north London club therefore announced that the clash, originally scheduled for Boxing Day, will be moved due to the 'preparation period needed to safely operate Emirates Stadium by all the relevant agencies'.
Arsenal explained that the decision was made to avoid health risks, while they assured that those who have already bought tickets can use them for the rearranged fixture.
A statement on their official website reads: "The club liaised closely with all the relevant agencies, including the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, London Underground, the Premier League, West Ham United FC and Islington Council, in order to reach this decision.
"The paramount concern was always the duty of care towards the Arsenal supporters, West Ham United supporters, matchday employees and workers and indeed everyone who was planning to attend the game on Boxing Day.
"In addition to the proposed industrial action on London Underground on Boxing Day, there are extremely limited services operating on National Rail train services into London on this day.
"Also, normal parking restrictions close to the stadium still apply. This would have caused severe disruption, or at worst, inability for supporters or matchday employees and workers to get to Emirates Stadium.
"We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused supporters but we feel that the right decision has been made. Tickets already purchased for this match are still valid for the rearranged date."
The club then confirmed that the fixture will be played either as a 7.45pm kick-off on Wednesday, January 23 or as a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, January 26, depending on results in the FA Cup third round fixtures being played on January 5-6.
In a similar note last year, again caused by a Tube drivers' strike, the Premier League outfit were forced to delay their Boxing Day clash with Wolves by 24 hours.
The match can't, however, be moved a day later this season because Arsene Wenger's men face Newcastle on December 29.