Fixture change for Rotherham United v Millwall game over safety concerns

Rotherham United's stadium
Rotherham United's stadium

Rotherham United's game against Millwall next month has been moved back a day over safety concerns.

The teams were due to play in Rotherham on Saturday, August 25 but the game has now been put back a day and will now take place on Sunday, August 26 with an earlier 12.30pm kick off time.

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Rotherham United said there were 'safety concerns' around playing the fixture with its original Saturday afternoon kick-off.

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Games between the teams have been marred by clashes between rival fans in previous seasons.

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In 2015 there were incidents both in and outside the stadium, with police officers and stewards injured in the disturbances.

Millwall fans attempted to invade the pitch after Rotherham scored an 85th minute relegation battle winner and thugs then tried to reach fans in the family stand.

Violence also flared outside the stadium.

Millwall Football Club has spoken of its disappointment at the fixture change.

In a statement, the club said: "Millwall Football Club regrets to confirm to its supporters that the Sky Bet Championship game away to Rotherham United, originally scheduled for Saturday, August 25, will now take place on Sunday, August 26 at the earlier kick-off time of 12.30pm.

"From the first stage of contact about a proposed rescheduling of this fixture the club has been strongly against moving the day or kick-off time and later took the issue to a dispute, overseen by The English Football League, having been unable to reach a fair compromise with Rotherham United Football Club.

"After the dispute was concluded and a seemingly fair outcome achieved, South Yorkshire Police took the fixture to a full Safety Advisory Group meeting after which it was unfortunately decided to move the game to its new date.

"The club remains firmly against what it believes to be an entirely illogical decision and regrets that fair solutions offered by itself and by The EFL have been rejected.

"As is always the case in such circumstances the club has fought strenuously with the needs and interests of its supporters at the heart of its argument, as well as those of the management and team, and regrets that on this occasion a decision it believes to be completely unjustifiable, and one which shows clear moral mistreatment of football fans, is the unfortunate outcome."

A Rotherham United spokesman said: "Following discussions with South Yorkshire Police, the Safety Advisory Group, Millwall FC and the EFL, Rotherham United’s Sky Bet Championship fixture with the Lions has been moved to Sunday, August 26 due to safety concerns.

"The Millers were originally set to face Millwall on Saturday, August 25 but will now take on Neil Harris’ side a day later at the earlier time of 12.30pm."

A Rotherham United pre-season fixture against Grimsby Town later this month has been cancelled on the advice of South Yorkshire Police because of a lack of officers available to work.

Last year, South Yorkshire Police spent £1.3 million covering football games in South Yorkshire.