Arsenal - West Ham Premier League match on Boxing Day postponed

The Gunners have apologized and assured that tickets purchased will be valid for the rearranged fixture, which they confirmed will be played on either Jan. 23 or Jan. 26.
Arsenal's Premier League clash against West Ham on Boxing Day has been cancelled due to proposed industrial action on the London Underground.

Aslef union confirmed the planned tube strike will go ahead after a ballot on Monday, with the action likely to cause chaos to those who would be traveling to the Gunners' 60,000 capacity stadium via the underground system. 

The north London outfit therefore announced that the clash, originally scheduled for Wednesday Dec. 26, will be moved due to the "preparation period needed to safely operate Emirates Stadium by all the relevant agencies."

The Gunners explained that the decision has been made to avoid health risks, and they assured that those who have already bought tickets will be able to use them for the rearranged fixture.

An Arsenal statement read: "The club liaised closely with all the relevant agencies, including the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, London Underground, the Premier League, West Ham United FC and Islington Council, in order to reach this decision.

"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.

"In addition to the proposed industrial action on London Underground on Boxing Day, there are extremely limited services operating on National Rail train services into London on this day.

"Also, normal parking restrictions close to the stadium still apply. This would have caused severe disruption, or at worst, inability for supporters or matchday employees and workers to get to Emirates Stadium.

"We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused supporters but we feel that the right decision has been made. Tickets already purchased for this match are still valid for the rearranged date, which is yet to be confirmed."

The club then confirmed that the fixture will be move to either a 7.45pm kick-off on Wednesday, Jan. 23 or a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, Jan. 26, depending on results in the FA Cup third round, being played on the weekend of Jan. 5 and Jan. 6.

In a similar incident last year, again caused by a tube drivers' strike, the Premier League outfit was forced to delay its Boxing Day clash with Wolves by 24 hours - the match can't, however, be moved a day later this term because Arsene Wenger's men already face Newcastle on Dec. 29.

Fulham hosts Southampton and QPR is at home to West Brom in the capital's other top-flight fixtures on Boxing Day, both of which may be effected by the action. However, there are no plans to postpone the two matches at the moment.

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