FSF Cymru have acted to ensure certain Wolverhampton Wanderers fans living within Wales WILL be able to travel independently to Saturday’s FA Cup against Cardiff City.
South Wales Police have enforced a “bubble ban” for the tie, stating that ONLY Wolves supporters who travelled on official coaches departing from Molineux would be allowed to attend the fixture at Ninian Park.
They maintain crowd trouble at recent fixtures between the two clubs has forced them to take drastic measures – and were originally unprepared to make any exceptions to a ruling which dictates Wanderers fans must not travel under their own cars or minibuses, or by bus or train.
But South Wales Police’s “No exceptions” stance prompted an outcry from Wolves fans living within Wales.
Told they could only buy tickets for the tie if they were prepared to travel from Wales to Wolverhampton, be transported by coach to Cardiff and back for the match, and then travel home again to Wales, they contacted FSF Cymru’s Vince Alm.
And, after prolonged negotiations with South Wales police and other interested parties, Alm’s endeavours managed to ensure at least a modicum of common sense prevailed.
The “bubble ban” remains in force, but, following FSF Cymru led discussions involving Wolves and Cardiff City officials and both South Wales and West Midlands police officers exceptions have been made for certain supporters.
Their personal details have been registered with both clubs and both police forces, and they will be permitted to attend the fixture without the considerable inconvenience of a needless return journey to the West Midlands.
South Wales Police Supt Bob Tooby said the travel restrictions had been "implemented successfully many times previously and will be implemented again at the Cardiff City v Bristol City game in a few weeks' time".
He said: "The plan allows for 2,000 away fans to travel to Cardiff City by organised coaches only. West Midlands Police fully support our plan and have reciprocal arrangements in place should a draw dictate a return fixture.
"Our policing plan is intelligence led and takes into account factors such as significant building work in the vicinity of the stadium as well as reconstruction work on the M4 corridor.
"South Wales Police is considered best practice in terms of policing football and specialist officers are experienced at policing football matches at all levels."
The supporters – including many who live near Cardiff – were told that they could only buy tickets for the fifth round tie a week on Saturday if they travel on organised club coaches leaving from Molineux.
Fan Kevin Jones, aged 51, from Llanedeyrn, South Wales, said: “I’ve had a season ticket for 10 years and have been travelling to every game since 1990 – I think it’s absolutely disgusting. I just think there’s no respect for the fans these days.”
Fellow fan Jane Bryson, aged 61, of Kinver, said: “If any other group of society was singled out for this treatment there would be universal outcry at such discrimination and questions asked in Parliament.”
The decision by South Wales Police to bar Wolves fans from travelling to Cardiff in their own cars or by bus or train follows a history of trouble between the two sides.
Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey told the Express & Star yesterday that the club had done “everything possible” to try and get South Wales police to change their minds, including submitting supportive letters from the FA and West Midlands Police.