Cardiff City will have no supporters at Saturday’s clash with Leeds United after returning an allocation of 500 tickets in a dispute over travel restrictions.
In a statement released last night, Cardiff said they had asked for 2,000 tickets from Leeds - all allowing unrestricted travel to Yorkshire - but were limited to a quarter of that amount.
The Welsh club have rejected the offer, a decision which will leave Elland Road devoid of away fans this weekend.
Cardiff, who have regularly faced travel restrictions to Leeds in the past, brought a crowd of 446 when they last played at Elland Road in February 2013.
The club’s chief executive, Ken Choo, backed the boycott, saying: “Our preference was for Cardiff City fans to be granted the same respect and freedom of travel as provided to over 2,000 Leeds supporters for the corresponding fixture this season, and we are frustrated that this could not be permitted.
“As is the case at Cardiff City Stadium, supporter safety should always be the priority. With the intelligence and information available however, we consider the event to be routine and manageable and that the travel and ticket restrictions in place are substantially out of proportion to any perceived risk.
“As stated by our supporter groups, we also believe that West Yorkshire Police could manage the event without issue or restrictions, if they chose to do so.”
Cardiff also claimed that Leeds had rejected their request for a beamback of Saturday’s game to the Cardiff City Stadium.
United responded with a statement of their own today, saying: “Cardiff City were originally offered 1,000 tickets as part of a voucher-to-ticket exchange including a new escorted coach system for their family season ticket groups. This was rejected by Cardiff City who declined the 1,000 tickets offered.
“After further consideration Leeds United offered Cardiff City 500 tickets with unrestricted travel. Late on Wednesday, Cardiff City notified Leeds United that they did not wish to take up the second offer of 500 tickets unescorted and that no supporters would travel to Leeds for the Championship fixture at Elland Road.
“Leeds United have consulted with West Yorkshire Police and the Football League regarding this matter and will continue to work with Cardiff City to try and reach a mutually agreeable solution for next season’s fixtures, both at Elland Road and at the Cardiff City Stadium.
“Leeds United has always put the safety management of spectators at the forefront of their planning.”