Football Association ‘ignored advice of Network Rail’ for ‘commercial reasons’


Sir Richard Branson, head of Virgin, has explained how the Football Association ignored the advice of Network Rail and Virgin Trains when moving the traditional kick-off time for the FA Cup Final.

The FA moved the kick-off from it’s usual 3pm slot to 5:15pm, on a Bank Holiday weekend – when planned engineering works are often scheduled to take place.

The change in kick-off time means Liverpool fans will not be able to get a train back to Merseyside until the Monday. Had it been 3pm, they would have been able to travel back that evening.

Such is the greed of the FA though, and their failure to take into consideration the supporters, they have insisted upon the later kick-off – which will see larger viewing figures around the world. In a letter to the Liverpool Echo, Branson says the kick-off change is due to commercial reasons.

It reads:

“The decision by the FA to schedule the Cup Final on a Bank Holiday weekend and start at 5.15pm rather than the traditional 3pm has been made for the FA’s commercial reasons at the expense of the travelling football fan.

“As is now customary on Bank Holiday weekends, the line is partly closed for improvement work.

“This is Network Rail’s massive renewal programme, scheduled more than two years ago, which will improve reliability on the line.

“The FA were told of these plans and of the impacts of a late kick off, but chose to ignore the advice of Virgin Trains and Network Rail.

“If the FA had engaged with the industry we could have worked out a range of options well ahead of time and timed the match to minimise the disruption.

“I agree with Transport Secretary Justine Greening who said in the Commons today that the timing of the match is the underlying problem.”

“Virgin Trains carries around 100,000 people every day and our customers have changed plans to accommodate these closures. If the works are cancelled on May 5th, it will have serious knock on effects and we will have to disrupt thousands of our customers’ journeys again.”

The FA – putting supporters last, once again.

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  • As_wilson

    When will the FA be culpable for the shambles that they are?…… situations like this, the ticket allocations and the blatant favouritism of some teams (e.g. The Ashley Young recent debacle) will continue until this very corrupt organisation are bought to justice.

  • Tommygun

    I don’t think anybody will have been surprised by this.  It’s just another in a long long long long list of examples where footballs governing bodies, in this case the FA, have shown their utter contempt for supporters.  Supporters are the lifeblood of football, without us they have nothing, and yet time and time again supporters are bottom of their list of considerations.  Another example was the announcement of the ticket numbers released to actual supporters of the clubs involved.  Just over 50,000 tickets set aside for supporters of both clubs…..meaning around 40,000 tickets will be going to FA flunkies, corporate fat cat’s, and members of their ‘footballing family’.  Again this isn’t a surprise, we’ve seen the same thing going on for a long time.  It never fails to disgust me though, 40,000 tickets which are being diverted away from actual supporters.  

    Oh of course thousands of those tickets will still find their way into the hands of club supporters…..after various FA flunkies and assorted other toady’s have flogged their tickets into the hands of touts, who will then flog them on to real supporters at VASTLY inflated prices.

    The whole system in football stinks.  Supporters are always the last people to be considered.  The greed driven game, particularly in this country, preys on supporters.  It takes for granted the passion, the loyalty, and the love that supporters have towards their clubs.  Rather than valuing that passionate loyalty football ruthlessly exploits that loyalty in order to squeeze every last available penny out of us.

    I love the game of football……..But the corrupt greed infested nature of everything that goes with it makes me sick.

    • Mk10kop

      Yeah but what are you gonna do about it???? It’s your f.a and all you fans allow them to do this to you cos you do sweet f.a about it

  • david mcallisterd

    I just think its ridiculous how they have moved the match to that time knowing ther would be disruptions

  • Zoesharpe

    Yet another kick in the teeth for liverpool by the FA. But then did anyone expect anything else.

  • PeeWee

    What a joke….. It makes it harder for all of us in Aus/Nz who will have to watch it at 3am rather than midnight…… So dont tell me your going to get better ratings from around the world you twats!!!

    • Raymcd2007

      200 million people in the us alone. 20m in oz

  • Grizzly

    The Fergie association strikes again, i bet they had a proper little Giggle about this, you can go and watch the game but if you do you will be walking back!!!

  • Brian -Ormskirk

    Since when did this disfunctional herd of dinosaurs ever give any consideration to the fans? They are an absolute disgrace. They prostituted themselves to the television companies years ago and since then have never made a decision that has been of any value to supporters. Along with the rest of the sycophants of the ‘prawn sandwich’ brigade the Cup Final is all about their dayout. Who the clubs are or how far they have to travel is of no concern to them. The rail companies made their plans over 18 months ago and should not be held responsible for this debacle. It would be a nice gesture if Chelsea publicly stated that they would prefer a 3pm kick-off to accommodate the travelling Liverpool fans. As for the FA, they all appear and act like Seb Blatter clones, and we all know what a useless barsteward he is !

  • munyuktae

    i’m from Asia and i am starting to feel that premiere league is getting the same taste as the calciopoli with manure as the ‘must win’ team.
    i think the essence of football is to celebrate the sportmanship and to respect the fair fight of team and individuals to win a match and the league title, FA and manure have destroyed that.
    i am in disbelief for many FA decisions, and now this.
    it is either they are an incompetent or simply hates LFC or any clubs except manure.

    many of my friends (even the non LFC supporters) starts calling FA as Fergayson Association or Fergayson Ar*e, it shows how bemused we are of their decisions.

    the world is watching their incompetence, the world is watching….