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Boro-Charlton fixture move “a new low for Sky”

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Middlesbrough’s upcoming away fixture at the Valley has been moved to a Sunday at just 17 days notice for TV broadcast.

Fans are rightfully furious at the move that clearly breaks the Football League’s own 28-day limit for TV fixture changes. Robert Nichols from Fly Me To The Moon shares his frustration…

Middlesbrough fans have been left completely dumbfounded and out of pocket in the light of the appalling decision to move our game away at Charlton from Saturday to Sunday at only 17 days notice.

We have been lucky in so much as our club is going to issue us each with a £50 refund but quite obviously it is Sky and the Football League, not Middlesbrough FC, that should be doing this.

As you know the away club earns very little from the broadcaster at a Championship level.

We worry that Sky are using the recent late shift in scheduling at Leeds vs Boro, allegedly caused by court action with the owner there as a precedent.

Yet how can 17 days possibly be acceptable notice for supporters travelling the length of the country from the north east to London?

In order to get cheaper deals on trains, hotels and buses we absolutely must book in advance. There is no alternative.

Boro travelling fans have already been faced with having to book weekends away and take out travel insurance against cancellation at hotels just to cover the options of a possible fixture schedule change.

At present games can in theory be moved to any day between a Thursday and a Monday. The only slight crumb of comfort was that we felt they would always give us a month or more notice. Not now. Seventeen days!

It looks there will be protests already at Charlton when we meet, their fans planning direct actions against their owners, so it is unlikely that any boycott or walk out on the day will work in the same way as was planned for Arsenal v Leicester.

But we certainly need to express our opinions and protest loudly about what is surely a new low by Sky and apparently ratified by the Football League in the appalling disregard for paying football supporters.

Robert Nichols

Fly Me To The Moon fanzine, Middlesbrough

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  • SD Europe