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Christmas Eve football: An unwanted present

Reports suggest the Premier League and broadcasters are set to ignore supporters and schedule a Christmas Eve fixture for the first time since 1995. It’s an unwanted present which no-one asked for.

The Express and Star’s Liam Keen reports that Wolves v Chelsea has been selected – and the FSA is in contact with supporters’ groups at both clubs with Mark Meehan, chair of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, saying the decision would be “totally unacceptable”.

Meehan added: “During a time when we ought to be helping supporters travel to away fixtures, it’s outrageous that another hurdle could be placed in their way.”

It would be a huge kick in the teeth for supporters who have consistently made clear their opposition to games the day before Christmas – as it’s not the first time this has been proposed.

Back in October 2017 there were reports that Sky Sports wanted to broadcast games on Christmas Eve which we said represented “a new low point in putting the interests of football broadcasters over those of matchgoing fans”.

It would put many supporters in an impossible choice between going to the match or spending festive time with their families – and that’s before you factor in the added challenges of travelling on a Sunday (which Christmas Eve falls on this year).

In the past decade or so Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday in 2011, 2016 and 2022 while 2017 was a Sunday. There was no top-flight football on those days which suggests an informal policy the Premier League is now looking to backtrack on.

No doubt some at the Premier League or broadcasters will make the case that there’s already Boxing Day football but that overlooks one very important factor…

The Christmas Eve fixture would presumably be in ADDITION to a Boxing Day game (or another game that week). It’s not likely to be a replacement. It’s just making things much, much more difficult for matchgoing supporters.

Boxing Day games bring their own logistical challenges, particularly for those travelling longer distances, but it’s an accepted tradition which happens to take place AFTER the big day, not before it. And Boxing Day is already a public holiday – another key difference.

Sadly supporters are used to being messed around by broadcasters but the symbolism of scheduling this on Christmas Eve would show a new level of contempt.

Earlier this week the Premier League also announced an additional 70 broadcast fixtures from 2025, further compounding the disregard for matchgoing fans. 

Supporters’ groups on the FSA’s Premier League Network have made clear their opposition to such fixtures in the past and we’ll be looking at ways to make those views crystal clear to the clubs, Premier League and the broadcasters.

They’re all complicit in this unwanted present.

What do Wolves 1877 Trust say?

Wolves 1877 Supporters Trust strongly condemns the proposal to play our home fixture with Chelsea on Christmas Eve. This potential scheduling once again shows a complete lack of consideration and respect for fans, especially Wolves fans who travel from further afield, and of course visiting Chelsea supporters.

“We also feel that this is unfair on club staff, especially those with young children, who will have planned to spend Christmas with their families. We urge the Premier League to consider this decision very carefully before making an announcement.”

Related Articles

Premier League announces Christmas Eve fixture

Football Supporters’ Association response to today’s Premier League announcement that there will be a Christmas Eve fixture for the first time since 1995.

Fan groups call on PL to reverse Christmas Eve KO decision

Supporter organisations across the FSA’s Premier League Network have united in opposition to the decision made by the league and Sky Sports to show Wolves vs Chelsea on Christmas Eve 2023 – the first time such a scheduling decision has been made since 1995.

#TerraceTalk: Support available this Christmas

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Travel info for fans: Christmas and New Year

When the domestic football schedule gets back underway post-World Cup supporters will be facing disruption on the rail network as industrial action and planned engineering works take place.

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