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Cost and disruption: PL games moved with two weeks’ notice

At the weekend the Premier League announced fixture changes to its September and October match schedule following the draws for the European competitions.

Supporters of the clubs involved have likely already seen the announcements explaining the fixture changes which see some games moved with just two weeks’ notice.

Everton vs Arsenal was due to be 5:30pm on Saturday 16th September, and Newcastle v Brentford due to be 4:30pm on Sunday 17th September. However, due to Newcastle now playing in the Champions League on the following Tuesday, and Arsenal on the Wednesday, the fixtures have been swapped.

This leaves less than two weeks’ notice for away fans to travel to the other side of the country, a situation that would have been completely avoidable had both teams just been selected to play on Saturday.

Since those changes were made the FSA have received and seen so many complaints about the fixtures involving Everton and Arsenal, as well as Newcastle and Brentford. The Premier League has maintained in the press this week that the original selections for these games were made on a conditional basis and therefore supporters had sufficient warning in their eyes – needless to say the countless fans left out of pocket who felt they had to book travel will disagree.

There was prior knowledge that Newcastle and Arsenal couldn’t play on the same night in the Champions League, so the Premier League and broadcasters gambled by making the selection they did.

Everton vs Arsenal is not directly impacted by another competition yet it is moved to fill a now vacant broadcast slot on the Sunday. Yet more disregard for fans.

Added to this, three of Aston Villa’s fixtures against Chelsea, Wolves and Luton Town have been moved to a Sunday due to their participation in the Europa Conference League. The FSA had asked the Premier League to asterisk this fixture to warn fans but it was not done.

However, these possible changes were not included in the initial Premier League communication for the September and October fixtures back in July and August as Aston Villa had yet to qualify, meaning there is good reason to believe some fans of Chelsea, Wolves and Luton Town will have made plans.

We have made representations to the Premier League that the planning and communication for TV fixtures that could be impacted by European fixtures has to be better, the extra cost and disruption on fans is incredibly harmful.

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