SUNDERLAND have been forced to reschedule their Capital One Cup fourth round tie with Southampton after protests from Northumbria Police.
The Black Cats had been due to host the Saints on Wednesday, October 30 - the same night Newcastle United were at home to Chelsea in the last 16 of the competition.
Neither side were able to play 24 hours earlier, as that would come just two days after the Wear-Tyne derby.
But after Northumbria Police raised concerns about public safety, the Football League has requested that Sunderland’s game is postponed for seven days and it will now take place on Wednesday, November 6 (kick-off 7.45pm).
Sunderland’s commercial director Gary Hutchinson said: “We have agreed to move the game with great reluctance, as we know the impact this could have on supporters and appreciate and thank them for their understanding in this matter.”
The Football League’s chief operating officer Andy Williamson added: “It is never ideal for a match to be dated and then moved at relatively short notice.
“Nonetheless, we have listened to the representations made by the police on this matter and have agreed that it is in the wider public interest to re-arrange this match.
“We apologise for any inconvenience this causes for supporters.”
Any tickets purchased will remain valid for the new date.
Assistant Chief Constable Greg Vant of Northumbria Police said: “We welcome the decision by Sunderland AFC to alter the date of their match against Southampton.
“The police do not have the power to order clubs to change their scheduling. Our role is to identify any safety concerns, make representations to the football clubs and present our objections to the Safety Advisory Groups. We did this and also wrote to the Football League outlining our concerns.
“The situation had potential implications for public safety, potential disorder and places unnecessary pressure on the transport network and emergency services
“We were always of the view that holding both matches on the same evening was an avoidable risk and want to thank the Football League for their intervention in relation to this.”