Arsenal clash with West Ham threatened after Tube drivers announce Boxing Day strike
16:51 GMT, 17 December 2012
Arsenal are set to postpone their Boxing Day clash with West Ham until the new year after the proposed London Underground strike was confirmed by the Aslef union.
The club will not officially call off the encounter until the industrial action by Tube drivers is ratified by authorities but it appears likely it will be 2013 before Sam Allardyce brings his team to the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal's 60,000-seater ground is five minutes' walk from Holloway Road station in north London, with Highbury and Islington and Finsbury Park also close by. Many fans use the service to get to games so a suspension would cause chaos if the match went ahead.
Under threat: The Gunners clash with West Ham might be rescheduled
Boxing Day games under threat
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal v West Ham
Fulham v Southampton
Charlton v Ipswich
nPower League One
Leyton Orient v Swindon
nPower League Two
Dagenham and Redbridge v Southend
A strike by Tube drivers last year
forced Arsenal to delay their Boxing Day match with Wolves by 24 hours
but they cannot do the same this year as they have a game against
Newcastle on December 29. Twelve months ago the club cited the 'duty of
care' they had to both sets of supporters and staff.
A midweek evening in January seems the likeliest date for re-staging but neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and the FA Cup are also factors to be considered.
QPR's match with West Brom will kick off at 3pm as planned after the club held a meeting this afternoon to discuss the matter.
Loftus Road is close to three Tube stations and fans are often reliant on the service but a statement on Ranger's website read: 'Supporters are advised to allow extra time for their journeys to and from Loftus Road.
'Buses will be running on the usual Sunday/Bank Holiday service on the day of the fixture, whilst parking in the borough will be free.
Christmas cheer Arsenal are facing a tricky festive period
'Supporters who are unable to attend the fixture owing to the Tube strikes will be entitled to a full refund.'
Fulham will wait for official confirmation of the Tube strike before deciding if any action needs to be taken over their Boxing Day match with Southampton at Craven Cottage.
A club spokesman said: 'We are monitoring situation and putting contingency in place but remain fully committed to the game going ahead as scheduled.'
Fulham play Swansea three days later.
Charlton are the only Championship side hosting a Boxing Day fixture in the capital but it is understood their match with Ipswich should not be too badly disrupted and will go ahead. Most home fans travel in from Kent rather than central London.
Derailed: Fans will have find it difficult to get across the capital
The announcement by Aslef means
London Underground drivers are on course to walk out on Boxing Day, as
well as January 18 and 25 in a row over bank holiday pay. It will be the
third successive Christmas walkout by Tube drivers.
move was announced after Aslef members voted by 9-1 in favour of
strikes. A spokesman said: 'The ballot result shows the strength of
feeling that remains on this issue.'