Supporters groups from the across the country have expressed their anger at the Premier League and its broadcasters for the latest delay in releasing TV fixtures.
The TV selections for December and January were due to be published by Friday 11th October, but at the time of publishing are five days late. This has meant many fans wanting to book travel to games in the busy December period are potentially losing out on cheaper travel options.
Broadcasters’ impact on supporters, leaving match-going fans out of pocket on numerous occasions last season, has been a growing problem in recent years as the number of televised games has increased.
Premier League officials have been unable to provide a concrete date or time for the TV fixtures announcement, despite requests from the FSA and various club-specific fan groups.
The FSA convenes regular supporter engagement meetings with the Premier League, and this subject is sure to be high on the agenda again at the next meeting.
TV delays - what the fans say:
“As is common in the modern game, it’s not just the away fixtures that concern Spurs fans. Our home game against Chelsea on the weekend before Christmas is causing the most anxiety, with many fans not living locally to Tottenham and eager to finalise both their transport to the game and their subsequent Christmas plans.
“The Christmas and New Year set of picks is the most important of the lot to fans, who also have lives outside of football, and the disregard shown by not only running almost a week late but by the radio silence from the Premier League is astonishing, even in this day and age.” – Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust
“The attitude of Sky towards supporters is totally deplorable . Neither do they respect or wish to understand the needs of the supporters. It is simply a case of put up with it and if you do not like it tough!” Chris Johnson - Burnley Supporters’ Trust
“I am awaiting the announcement before booking rail tickets and accommodation for Spurs for four of us. It seems ludicrous that announcement dates are scheduled well in advance and regularly postponed - I think this is the second time this season. Problems caused are exacerbated at this time of year since there are lots of matches in December (six) and January (four plus one or two FA Cup) compared to only three in both September and October.” Terry Hephrun - Burnley Supporters’ Trust
“These fixtures are five days late. This impacts on family arrangements, the price of train tickets, the ability to book leave and much more. It is especially sensitive over Christmas, when match-going fans already have challenges regarding fitting in with family arrangements.
“In terms of Chelsea, we have games at Spurs on Saturday 21st December and at Arsenal a week later. Both will clearly be on TV and come at either end of the Christmas week so knowing when they are will help both home and away supporters. Newcastle away is scheduled for Saturday January 18th and cheaper train tickets will be on sale very soon so, again, knowing the date will be very handy.” – Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
“The main issues for Liverpool will be Bournemouth and Tottenham - any shifts to the south coast fixtures are difficult for us and any late London fixtures mean difficulty getting back and usual hike in prices.
“Our biggest concern is the strong rumour that our Boxing Day fixture away at Leicester City could be 8pm - that’s awful all round – with public transport difficulties, the expense, late returns and beyond.” – Spirit of Shankly
"We have a seven day economy in the UK and many supporters have to book leave in advance, even for weekend home fixtures, late fixture changes does not just impact on away fans, home supporters are also being disadvantaged including season ticket holders who have committed money up front for math tickets.
"It’s a common theme for Wolves supporters that booking trains at advance rates is now nigh on impossible. We have been impacted by the Europa League resulting in our fixtures being moved from Saturday but we have little visibility around kick off times on the Sunday or if the game is going to Monday evening so the further delay caused by the PL is unwelcome." - Wolves Fans' Parliament
"Due to our geography, Newcastle fans naturally end up paying way more on average to follow their team on the road. The longer we wait for confirmation of away fixtures, the more expensive the trip becomes.
"Throw Christmas into the mix, naturally a busier and more expensive time of year, and some fans are faced with a huge financial burden if they want to follow their team away from home thanks to yet another delay." - Newcastle United Supporters' Trust
"For us it’s the usual factor that the later the games are announced the more expensivetrains (if there are any that get you back after a late kick off) and hotels become. Plus in December booking venues for Christmas events to tie in with home games. Out of our 200 members over 50% live away from Norwich." - Forces2Canaries
"This doesn't only affect our fans travelling to away matches. Many of our fans have moved out of London and some of our most loyal fans travel many miles to get to home matches. Some travel from overseas. The late announcement is an inconvenience to all fans, but for these fans who have to arrange air and long distance rail travel to both home and away matches, it is an absolute nightmare." - Hammers United
"Our travelling fans face a trip to Watford on one of four days or evenings over the busy weekend before Christmas. Train deals are already going up and are getting sold out." - Manchester United Supporters' Trust
"Watford have a high number of youngsters who travel with parents and a high demand for away tickets but late changes to fixtures causes significant difficulties and cost to supporters. In particular we have an away fixture at Liverpool and with weekend rail works this creates huge problems. The club does what it can to mitigate the effects of changes but without a decent period for planning this effort is undermined.
"We are encouraged to use public transport but good intentions are being obstructed by these delays, which appear to be the norm rather than the exception." - Watford Supporters' Trust
"The Premier League being late, again, in confirming fixtures for December, is inconsiderate to fans who need to make arrangements to travel to games.
"A significant number of West Ham fans travel great distances to follow the team with late announcements creating difficulties with purchasing cheaper train tickets, arranging alternatives to travel, booking time off work, sorting accommodation if needed and family arrangements.
"These problems increase around Christmas particularly if times of away games are changed to a late evening kick off with timings for return trains an issue." - West Ham United Independent Supporters' Association
"From a disabled point of view if fixtures are moved to a Sunday or like Boxing Day getting the train is a nightmare. For example when we were playing Arsenal, because it was on a Sunday, there was no disabled assistance on the trains - one of our disabled fans got stuck at Finchley station, wasn’t able to attend the match as there was no one operating the lifts, they were locked. It doesn’t help disabled travelling with late fixtures either." - Aston Villa Disabled Supporters' Association
Thanks to PA Images for the image used in this article.