Sky Sports have refused to compensate match-going Manchester United fans for a double fixture move that could leave thousands of Old Trafford season ticket holders out of pocket.
This weekend Manchester United take on Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon live on Sky Sports, despite the game originally being scheduled for an early Saturday kick-off when the TV selections for the Autumn period were made.
Delays to the construction of New White Hart Lane meant the Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City fixture, originally picked for the 4pm Sunday kick-off, had to be moved to Monday night.
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) have been lobbying the broadcaster since for compensation after Sky Sports took the opportunity to move their fixture to the now vacant Sunday slot.
“Over 1,000 supporters will have had to pay significant sums to revise their previously booked flights, trains and hotels,” MUST said.
“Others will be forfeiting their non-refundable bookings as other personal commitments made on the basis of the original fixture time now prevent them from attending on the revised match day.”
MUST has been assessing the impact the double move has had on home supporters who began to make plans for this weekend’s fixtures based on the last round of TV picks – the Trust spoke to Sky Sports about their findings.
“In their response to us this week Sky have acknowledged that the fixture change was a commercial decision to preserve their valuable 'Super Sunday' schedule after the Spurs/City match was moved to a new televised slot of Monday evening,” MUST say.
“While expressing sympathy for affected supporters however they have sought to shift responsibility for any compensation to the Premier League and ultimately to our own club that did not instigate the fixture change.
“This regrettable, but sadly predictable, buck passing and impasse ignores the valid claims of supporters who remain significantly out of pocket.”
The impact of TV on supporters has been a growing area of concern in recent seasons as the volume of televised games continues to creep upwards.
The FSF and MUST, along with supporter groups across the country, will continue to lobby the clubs, Premier League and broadcasters for better protections against such rescheduling that significantly inconveniences match-going fans.
Thanks to PA Images for the image used in this story.