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South Wales football derby: ‘Robust’ police plan in place

Swansea City and Cardiff City will meet at the Liberty Stadium at mid-day Sunday for the first time since 2014.

The fixture has historically been a flashpoint for trouble between rival hooligans though fans have been praised following the most recent matches.

South Wales Police said they are working to deliver a safe event but want the “focus to be on the match”.

The force said its plans – in place since June alongside those of British Transport Police – were unaffected by pubs opening early to screen Wales’ Rugby World Cup semi-final on Sunday morning.

Travel restrictions for this fixture were introduced in the 1990s after visiting fans were banned following a series of incidents.

Since then, “away” fans have been escorted to games by police.

However following discussions with both clubs and the “good behaviour” of fans in recent meetings, travelling supporters no longer need to meet at Cardiff City Stadium for their tickets.

Fans fighting with police

Match commander Supt Steve Jones said: “The good behaviour of fans [and] effective stewarding and policing have combined to create an enjoyable occasion and a very positive impression of the south Wales derby fixtures.

“Policing of football matches has changed over the six seasons since the clubs last met, with the number of banning orders and arrests at Swansea and Cardiff home matches much lower now than previously.”

He added: “Learning from these experiences, the plan will be less restrictive for visiting supporters but there will still be proportionate arrangements in place to ensure their safety.

“This will include a ticket collection point for away fans, managed by the clubs, which supporters will travel to on official coaches and exchange a voucher for a match ticket. There will then be a police escort from the collection point to the Liberty Stadium.”

South Wales Police officer filming fans

Three people were arrested at the last meeting in February 2014 though none were made following a police operation ahead of the first all-Wales Premier League match in November 2013.

Since then, 41 Cardiff City fans have been handed banning orders while 19 Swansea City supporters have been banned, according to Home Office statistics.

Both sides are in need of a win in order to close the gap on the leading teams in the Championship.

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