In an unlikely show of solidarity, Newcastle United and Sunderland football clubs have vowed to ignore Northumbria Police over its control of derby match kick-off times.
The Premiership clubs have attacked the region's force over its refusal to grant a traditional 3pm start for the matches when other police forces around the country have been able to accommodate later kick-off times for similar high profile games.
The clubs claim that in recent years Northumbria Police have rejected all requests made by the clubs for later kick-off slots. These include Saturday 5.30pm, Sunday 4pm and Monday 8pm.
Newcastle and Sunderland want greater freedom around the timing of the matches to enable broadcasters to give the game consideration in the majority of their time slots for live coverage. However, Northumbria Police have insisted on a kick-off time no later than 1.30pm.
In their statement, the clubs state that they will inform the Premier League "that all future fixtures between the two clubs will be available for kick-off times to suit the clubs, the League and their broadcast partners, if applicable, and will expect Northumbria Police to police these games, especially given the considerable costs both clubs incur for such special police services."
The Tyne-Wear derby is one of the most volatile in English football. Although both clubs have rarely been in the fight for recent domestic honours - Sunderland's Capital One Cup exploits this season notwithstanding - they are major events in both clubs' and fans' diaries.
Recent matches have witnessed some intense scenes, with perhaps the most extraordinary being former Sunderland manager, Paolo Di Canio's touchline celebrations at St James' Park when his side beat Newcastle 3-0 last April.
The row has caught the attention of one local politician; Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah has voiced her concern over the break down of the relationship between the clubs and Northumbria Police and aims to find out who has "thrown their toys out the pram", the Newcastle Chronicle reported.
“I’m really concerned that Newcastle and Sunderland, two of the greatest football clubs in the country and the world, have both fallen out with their local police force," she added.
“I will be speaking to the police commissioner and the Premier League to try to find out who has thrown whose toys out of which pram."