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Don't be late! FA CUP: Police tell supporters to arrive early to avoid chaos at Ricoh showdown.

Byline: By Emma Stone CRIME REPORTER

POLICE advice for football fans travelling to Coventry's FA Cup clash on Saturday is to get there early.

A capacity crowd is expected at the Ricoh Arena for the quarter-final match against Chelsea and the gates will be open from 10am.

Officers will be on-hand to direct those driving to the ground and additional road signs are being created to help the expected 6,000 Chelsea fans find their way to the Ricoh Arena.

Football liaison officer Sergeant Ian Tipton, of Stoney Stanton Road police station, is organising the police operation and is urging people to allow themselves plenty of time to get inside the ground.

He said: "The biggest challenge for us will be the number of people arriving who will not know the location of the ground and where the car parks are.

"There will be a significant traffic operation to assist the Ricoh Arena staff.

"We're supporting the information coming from Coventry City FC, which is to arrive early to avoid delays getting into the ground.

"There is going to be a good number of people travelling by train and car. We hope they take the time to make sure they know where they are going to park up safely and get to the ground in time.

"There will be a lot of signage. The more signs there are, the less the need to stop and ask."

Officers will also be available to direct coaches to the arena.

Additional officers will also be patrolling the city centre and Coventry train station ahead of the 12.30pm kick-off.

Sgt Tipton added: "As its a crucial kick-off time as its a televised match, there is an expectation the match will start on time.

"People need to get there in good time. This will not be an exceptional operation for us, it will be similar to the other big matches which have already taken place."

CAPTION(S):

BIG DAY... Sky Blues supporters (left) queuing up to lay their hands on quarter-final tickets ahead of the quarter final tie against Chelsea at the Ricoh.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 4, 2009
Words:349
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