Public Transport Chaos

England may be forced to play Andorra behind closed doors

Tube strike may force supporters to stay at home

Wembley Park Underground Station

From 7pm tonight, adequately paid London Underground staff are planning to strike for 48 hours, leaving most people in the capital severely fudged if they want to get around. Among the worst effected by the industrial action, however, would be the England fans intending to travel to Wembley for the World Cup Qualifier against Andorra tomorrow night.

The FA suspended ticket sales at 70,000 last week when they realised the game clashed the the tube workers’ walkout, and it is understood they will hold a crisis meeting with the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and Brent Council later today, to see if contingency plans can be put in place. Otherwise, the game may have to be played behind closed doors, meaning John Terry’s potty mouth will echo all around the empty stadium.

The Telegraph reports:

It is understood that the threat of playing the match behind closed doors is the most extreme option currently on the table amid hopes that the RMT can still be persuaded to call off the strike. An announcement is expected later this afternoon.

The match itself will still take place but purely as a television spectacle, with Fabio Capello’s side going through the motions of what should be a perfunctory victory against the European minnows against banks of empty seats.

A crowd of around 75,000 can usually be expected for a home international and the lack of an effective underground service makes such numbers unmanageable.

It seems unlikely that the strike will be called off at this stage, but The Spoiler believes the game will probably go ahead as normal. The FA will do absolutely everything in their power to avoid closing the doors, as refunding tickets would cost a cool £1.75m. At a time when they are trying to pay for their £800m stadium by hosting as many events as possible there, this is not a bill they will be wiling to take lightly.

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