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Newcastle United and Sunderland await final decision on FA cup allocation

The local rivals’ hotly-anticipated meeting at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, 6 January will be the first Tyne-Wear derby since 2016

Final decisions are expected to be made on Friday over the number of tickets that Newcastle United fans will get for their FA Cup clash with Sunderland.

The local rivals’ hotly-anticipated meeting at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, 6 January will be the first Tyne-Wear derby since 2016.

FA Cup rules dictate that visiting supporters can receive up to 15% of the stadium and Magpies fans have been pushing for a maximum allocation that would amount to around 7,300 tickets – far more than would be the case for a league fixture.

However, given policing concerns around violence at some derby matches in the past, that allocation could be trimmed to a smaller number.

Discussions have been held between the two football clubs and regional authorities since the FA Cup third-round draw was made earlier this month.

Ticket allocations must be agreed upon by members of the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG), which it is understood will meet on Friday, 15 December to finalise details on crowd safety, travel arrangements, and other issues surrounding the lunchtime encounter.

The Stadium of Light SAG includes representatives from Sunderland City Council, Northumbria Police, and the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, among other bodies.

The SAG, meetings of which are not open to the press or public, confirmed: “Discussions are ongoing between both football clubs, Northumbria Police, local authorities and transport providers, about further match and stadium arrangements. It is anticipated that decisions will be reached at the end of this week.”

Ticket pricing and details of where in the Stadium of Light the away fans will be housed are yet to be confirmed by either club.

Visiting supporters are currently located in the upper tier of the stadium’s north stand, with away fans typically having a ticket allocation of 2,000.

There have been concerns from some Sunderland fans about the location of the current away end after incidents in which objects have been thrown from the upper tier.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust recently wrote to Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, arguing that away fans having a full 15% ticket allocation was “crucial for keeping the magic of the FA Cup alive”.

She replied saying that the “maximum number of supporters should be allowed to attend” but cautioned that authorities had to be satisfied that the match could go ahead safely.

Ms McGuinness added: “You’re right to say this is one of the biggest derby matches in the country, and it’s great to see our region’s sporting passion on show from both sides. A packed-out Stadium of Light on derby day will be an atmosphere like few others, and I hope we can make that happen. We do though have to do this in a safe way.

“The vast majority of fans will want to avoid a repeat of the match-day violence we have seen in previous games. As such, the police, the councils and the Metro operator will all have their say on the best way to avoid putting fans at risk, while also keeping the transport system running for other passengers.”

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