Boxing Day–aka the 26 of December–is a bigger deal in Europe than in the United States and a date known for high profile sporting events. At least one such event won’t take place in 2012 due to a labour situation in London. The Arsenal/West Ham United English Premier League soccer match slated for December 26 at Emirates Stadium has been postponed. London Underground drivers are unhappy with their holiday pay and are planning to stage three days of strikes beginning on Boxing Day. The game will be rescheduled for late January pending the resolution of the FA Cup schedule.
West Ham United posted the following statement on the matter:
“West Ham United and Arsenal liaised closely with all the relevant agencies, including the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, London Underground, The Premier League and Islington Council, in order to reach this decision.”
A statement on Arsenal’s website added:
“The paramount concern was always the duty of care towards the Arsenal supporters, West Ham United supporters, matchday employees and workers and indeed everyone who was planning to attend the game on Boxing Day.”
This is the third consecutive year that Underground drivers have stayed home on Boxing Day and other Premiership games could be impacted. Queens Park Rangers have a 3 PM (GMT) Boxing Day kickoff with West Brom and for now are going ahead as scheduled. The team is mindful of the potential transport issues:
‘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. Supporters who are unable to attend the fixture owing to the Tube strikes will be entitled to a full refund.’
Fulham is also slated to play Southampton at Craven Cottage but is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach hoping that cooler heads will prevail and the Tube strike won’t occur. The Championship circuit is also at risk with Charlton and Ipswich slated for a Boxing Day fixture but team officials are for the moment not overly concerned about problems caused by a potential strike.