POLICE have postponed an Everton home game because the BNP will be campaigning in Liverpool.
The Blues were due to take on Stoke City at Goodison Park in a Premier League clash at 3pm on Saturday, March 14.
But the BNP are due in town leafleting the city centre in the run-up to the European elections in June.
Merseyside police do not have enough officers to cover both events, so they asked the Premier League to put back the match 24 hours. It will now kick off at 3pm on Sunday, March 15.
Blues fans reacted with fury to the move, having being told about the change only last week.
Merseyside police were informed about the BNP plan in mid January.
The BNP march is expected to attract anti-racism campaigners, and the police said they have to have a sizeable presence to keep the peace.
There were also private concerns in the force about away fans mixing with the march because Stoke has nine BNP councillors.
Ian McDonald, from Everton Independent Blues, said: “Why, at such short notice, have we been shifted out for the BNP? Goodison Park is full of people of every race, creed and colour – all with a love of Everton.
“That is the type of situation the BNP will be protesting about.
“I know 100 Blues from the Isle of Man who have had to cancel their trip because the match has been moved, and there’ll be hundreds more across the country in the same situation.”
Simon Darby, BNP deputy leader, said: “It is a massive over-reaction. Why can these two events not co-exist?
“It is an insult not only to Everton fans but also to us. It is a ridiculous thing to do.”
But Chief Supt Steve Watson said: “The prime concern of Merseyside police is the safety of the visitors to the city centre and local residents.
“We will facilitate lawful campaigning in such a way as to minimise any risk of harm or disruption to the public or local businesses.
“There were several events scheduled for Saturday, March 14 which would have required intensive policing.
“If they had all taken place at the same time it would have affected the ability to police those events effectively.”
EFC head of communications Ian Ross said: “It is a matter of public safety so we understand the police’s predicament.
“However we don’t like rescheduling games at such short notice and this will certainly lead to a number of supporters being inconvenienced.” THE LIVERPOOL ECHO