With the Premier League looking to introduce a 6.30pm Sunday kickoff slot, Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly have opposed plans.
This comes with an additional 50 fixtures made available for broadcasters, with the prospect of “wall-to-wall coverage” on Sundays also including a 12pm kickoff.
Though “a source close to the bidding process” denied suggestions of those slots, insiders maintain that there could be “four designated kick-offs” to close the weekend.
While the opportunity to watch Premier League games at 12pm, 2pm, 4.30pm and 6.30pm may be attractive to viewers – and shareholders – the consideration shown to travelling fans is less positive.
? note with concern that a new schedule of kick-off times proposed under the upcoming @premierleague TV deal includes later times over weekends. We totally oppose this and will be linking with other trusts to take necessary action to ensure football remains for matchgoing fans. pic.twitter.com/q9oLunq45q
— Spirit of Shankly (@spiritofshankly) September 20, 2023
Spirit of Shankly, the supporters’ group representing Liverpool, are among those concerned with the proposals, explaining that they “totally oppose” a 6.30pm kickoff.
“SOS note with concern that a new schedule of kickoff times proposed under the upcoming Premier League TV deal includes later times over weekends,” a statement reads.
“We totally oppose this and will be linking with other trusts to take necessary action to ensure football remains for matchgoing fans.”
The Football Supporters’ Association, a wider group representing fans across England and Wales, also explained that they “100 percent oppose” plans.
?Sunday evening KOs – a thread ?
A big backlash against PL Sunday evening KOs because of the sheer havoc it causes matchgoers. We 100% oppose it.
A shocking idea but not one we're unfamiliar with as fans in the WSL have put up with this for years.
It's not good enough. https://t.co/FNGUupsMaA
— The FSA (@WeAreTheFSA) September 20, 2023
“A big backlash against PL Sunday evening KOs because of the sheer havoc it causes matchgoers. We 100 percent oppose it,” an FSA statement reads.
“A shocking idea but not one we’re unfamiliar with as fans in the WSL have put up with this for years.
“It’s not good enough.”
Elsewhere, the FSA added: “People accept midweek away slots as they’re needed to fit in a season’s worth of games / cup competitions etc.
“But Sunday evenings are a needless addition because those games can clearly be played at 3pm on a Saturday. A TV-made problem.”
It is worth nothing, then, that within the Telegraph‘s report it is revealed that “at least one of English football’s growing army of American owners had been lobbying behind the scenes to abandon the 3pm blackout.”
The 3pm blackout has long been in place in English football to protect clubs from failing attendances in the event of every game being broadcast on TV.
“Some broadcasters were also rallying behind a potential rule change, with one telling the Premier League that Saturday afternoons were a ‘gateway drug’ for pirate streams,” it is claimed.