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TV chokehold: Chelsea vs Manchester United game still without kick-off time

Chelsea fans have released a statement criticising the Premier League and broadcasters as they still await news on the kick-off time for their upcoming game against Manchester United – now just 16 days away.

The fixture between the two sides was selected for broadcast back in July without a set kick-off time and a slot has still not been agreed, leaving supporters hanging on with travel and accommodation arrangements.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust yesterday described the scheduling of the game, or lack thereof, as “unacceptable and deeply irresponsible”.

“The Premier League and broadcasters are delaying an announcement due to a dispute over TV slots,” they said.

“Supporters need to book travel, accomodation and annual leave. This highly-anticipated fixture is slowly becoming a nightmare for many.”

The trust have criticised the Premier League for allowing the game to be selected for broadcast, despite the fact that it was certain to be moved again due to a predictable Champions League fixture clash.

Prior to this game there is a midweek round of Premier League games to be played and Chelsea are away to RB Salzburg in the Champions League on Tuesday 25th October, preventing the game being moved to either a Friday or Sunday broadcast slot.

Conditional picks: What does the FSA think?

This is already the second time this season that Chelsea supporters have had their schedule disrupted by poorly-planned TV selections.

Back in August, their game against West Ham United was selected by broadcasters for a Sunday afternoon kick-off, but had to be moved again once the Champions League draw had Chelsea playing on Tuesday night.

The clash had to be moved back to a Saturday 3pm kick-off, leaving supporters inconvenienced and out of pocket on travel. Supporter groups from both teams described it as “predictable farce”, saying the Premier League and its partner broadcasters were treating matchgoing fans with “complete contempt”.

Supporters are all too familiar with TV’s impact on the schedule – a growing source of irritation for years.

Adding to the frustration has been a lack of communication about the cause of delays to TV selections and fixture rearrangements when clashes emerge.

With neither clubs, the Premier League nor broadcasters taking responsibility, the FSA has been pushing for answers.

In our supporter engagement meetings with the Premier League, fan reps have been told by the league that they will do better, particularly on communication.

But this “predictable farce” of conditional picks is a repeat problem that neither the Premier League nor broadcasters have tackled, despite supporters’ groups flagging it time and again. It isn’t good enough.

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