Ipswich: Police explain why date changed for Ipswich Town’s match against Norwich
IPSWICH: Police today explained why this year’s Ipswich vs Norwich match will be played on a week night for the first time in 13 years.
The cost of staging the game on Good Friday, allied to transport infrastructure and religious implications, were given as reasons for the move.
East Anglian derby games have been played on Sundays, since police were forced to don riot gear after coming under fire from a hail of bottles, bricks, and stones outside Ipswich railway station in October 1998. The violence came after Town’s 1-0 loss at Portman Road.
However, this year Suffolk Constabulary is allowing the game to be played on Maundy Thursday at 7.45pm.
It is understood the match had originally been scheduled for an Easter Saturday kick-off when the fixture list was issued last summer, before being moved to Good Friday.
However, after discussions between police and Ipswich Town FC it was agreed the game would take place the night before.
More than 300 police officers, along with dog units and police horses from Essex Constabulary, will be on duty next Thursday.
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Around 2,500 Norwich fans are expected to travel to Suffolk for the match, and senior officers have spent nearly five months planning their operation for the day.
Superintendent David Skevington, of Suffolk Constabulary, said: “The main reasons for bringing the match forward are to avoid potential problems and the significantly increased costs which playing over the Easter holiday period may have generated.
“Concerns have also been raised by religious and faith groups of having the game on Good Friday.
“We need to be sensitive to the needs, concerns and expectations of all the communities we serve including fans, religious and faith groups, local businesses and families.”