Brighton’s grudge match with arch rivals Crystal Palace at The Amex is likely to be moved to an early kick-off on a Sunday.
The fixture list, published yesterday, revealed the Seagulls would face-off with the Eagles on Saturday, March 16, but Sussex Police’s Football Intelligence and Liaison Officer PC Darren Balkham said the force had asked for it to be played on a Sunday and that, with the match not until March next year, there was plenty of time to discuss any changes.
The club sat down with police back in April to fill in a fixture questionnaire which each team submits to the league asking for specific requests to be taken into account.
And, mindful of trying to avoid any follow up to the public disorder experienced in the city centre before last season’s match and small clashes outside the stadium, Sussex Police asked for a Sunday date.
Other games are also likely to be changed due to television and PC Balkham also said there was the possibility for other high profile home matches to be moved on police advice.
Some fans had expressed concern that Brighton travel to Selhurst Park on December 1, the same day as Millwall and Charlton meet just a few miles away, but PC Balkham was quick to point out that a similar scenario had happened in recent seasons with no problems and said police were not concerned.
He added though that any decision on the Selhurst match would be taken by the MET after consultations with Southern Rail, British Transport Police and, of course, Sussex Police’s football intelligence team.
Last season’s 1v1 draw at Selhurst saw Brighton fans criticise policing tactics which involved MET officers building a metal wall across an entire road to separate the travelling Albion fans from their South London rivals.
It has since emerged that the blockade was a CBRN barrier, which stands for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and is meant to be used to stop people moving from an infected area after chemical leaks or terrorist attacks.