Chelsea and Manchester United fans will face uncertainty over travel to games this weekend as Avanti West Coast delays the release of pre-sale tickets between London and the North West.
The train company, which has been under fire, confirmed earlier this month that construction work would affect all routes to and from Euston station in London.
The technical work had resulted in fans being prevented from booking tickets for this weekend as the schedules are not yet final.
Fans still need to buy tickets on Avanti West Coast to travel to this weekend’s games
Chelsea fans will try to travel to Liverpool for the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday
Chelsea’s game against Liverpool and United’s crucial clash against Arsenal are among the high-profile games this weekend where fans will be affected by the late release of tickets.
Blues fans are hoping to travel to Merseyside for Saturday’s 12:30pm kick-off against Liverpool, while United fans are currently unable to book trains ahead of their 4:30pm game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The company was due to issue advance tickets on Monday, just days before fans would be traveling to the games.
The release of tickets would follow confirmation of a revised schedule for the weekend.
But Avanti West Coast told it sports mail Ticket release for trains between London and Liverpool is “not expected today” and “likely later in the week”.
Manchester United fans face the uncertainty of traveling to their away game against Arsenal
The decisive clash takes place on Sunday afternoon at 16:30 at the Emirates Stadium
The train company has come under increasing pressure in recent months as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned it could be banned from the West Coast route due to its stalled services.
Sunak warned the government to “closely monitor” Avanti’s efforts after the company controversially saw his contract extended by six months, with the short-term extension running until April 1.
And this despite the fact that passengers were confronted with shortened timetables, canceled trains, dirty and overcrowded trains and could only book tickets a few days in advance.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned last month that Avanti could be pulled from its West Coast route
Avanti West Coast’s contract has been controversially extended by six months to April 1
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham had called for the company to be stripped of his contract, with the Labor MP claiming he was “very concerned” about his “failed service” following the short-term extension.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has criticized the service, which is run by Avanti
The company promised last month that a new timetable would result in “reliable” services between London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The delay has created uncertainty among fans looking to make travel arrangements to and from the games this weekend.
Fans have reacted angrily to the delay, with one claiming the company “treats football fans with contempt”.
“It is absolutely ridiculous that her contract for the franchise was recently renewed by the government,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“They have repeatedly shown their inability to provide a decent service and treat football fans (who are an important source of income) with contempt.”
Chelsea fans traveling to Anfield will face an early start due to the 12.30pm kick-off as the Blues look to build on the win over Crystal Palace and ease the pressure on boss Graham Potter.
United fans are hoping to get to the Emirates Stadium for Sunday’s 4.30pm kick-off against Arsenal.
The game could be crucial in the Premier League title result as the Gunners currently hold an eight-point lead over nearest rivals Manchester City.
Fans are likely to be affected in the coming weeks, with further planned technical work slated for next weekend and throughout February.
It was also announced on Tuesday that train drivers will launch new strikes that will affect Avanti West Coast after the rejection of a wage offer.
Aslef members will disembark on February 1st and 3rd, causing further travel disruption across the country.
The first strike will coincide with a strike by 100,000 civil servants in their dispute over salaries and jobs, a strike by teachers over salaries and nationwide protests against the government’s controversial new strike law.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11643613/Chelsea-Manchester-United-fans-face-travel-uncertainty-crucial-Premier-League-fixtures.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Chelsea and Manchester United fans face travel uncertainties for key Premier League games