A rail strike on match day could cause chaos as fans make their way to the Amex for an FA Cup clash in the new year.
Brighton and Hove Albion are playing arch rivals Crystal Palace at home in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday, January 8, at 7.45pm.
Many fans make their way to matches via train, as the stadium is next to Falmer station.
But the RMT union announced yesterday (December 20), that it would be holding a single day of strike action on January 8, in its dispute with Govia Thameslink over driver-only operation.
Brighton fan Brétt Mendöza took to Twitter, and said: “What could make Brighton v Palace even worse? A rail strike! Monday 8th January is going to be carnage #bhafc #cpfc”
A Sussex Police officer leading the policing operation at the last clash between the rivals on November 28 said it was ‘the most challenging football-related disorder that I have ever experienced’.
Police did apologise later, however, for incorrectly stating weapons were found at the match.
Brighton and Hove Albion has been contacted for comment on the news of the strike.
On why the strike is being called, Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action in the New Year.
“No one should be in any doubt, these disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies.”
Angie Doll, passenger services director for Southern Railway, said: “This RMT strike action is a blow for fans of Brighton and Crystal Palace. The RMT leadership has chosen to call a strike for one of the biggest nights of the season for both clubs. Instead of looking forward to the game, thousands of supporters will be concerned about their travel arrangements for the big night.
“The RMT’s action is especially regrettable as the leadership has announced this strike just hours after we had invited them for talks in a bid to end the dispute.
“We made these changes a year ago to improve passenger services and no-one has lost their job through what we have done. We have made four offers to the RMT to resolve their dispute but they have rejected every one of them without even putting it to their membership for a vote.”