POLICE THIS week criticised Cardiff City Council and train operators for failing to plan transport and crowd control ahead of last Sunday's Worthington Cup Final between Liverpool and Birmingham City.
The kick-off had to be delayed for 10 minutes as thousands of fans struggled to Cardiff's 72,000 capacity Millennium Stadium through near total gridlock. Many were still arriving 30 minutes into the game.
There was a fundamental weakness in the stadium's supporting infrastructure, said match commander chief superintendent Gerry Toms.
'Coach parking at the stadium is nil. For every event we have to speak to the council and make temporary arrangements, ' Toms said.
Although only 7,500 people came by train on Sunday, compared with the 29,000 fans attending the recent Wales versus England rugby international, train operators failed to run enough extra trains to cope with large numbers of supporters from the Midlands and Merseyside.
The majority of fans arrived by car. The two clubs had led the police to expect 750 coaches but in the event only 485 made the trip.
But this did not ease the situation for Birmingham City fans, whose coaches were directed along the most congested routes.