Belfast Telegraph

Football Supporters' Federation says fans are being 'put out' by TV schedules

The Football Supporters' Federation has called for more consultation with fans who continue to be "put out" by the changing fixture schedule for live Premier League matches.

The first selection of televised fixtures was confirmed on Thursday, which will see the new 2017-18 Premier League season open with a clash between Arsenal and Leicester on Friday August 11, kicking off at 7:45pm on Sky Sports.

Brighton's Premier League debut at home against Manchester City will be broadcast by BT Sport on August 12 in the 5:30pm slot.

Meanwhile, Tottenham fans will be set for an early journey to the north east on Sunday August 13 ahead of the 1:30pm kick-off against Newcastle, who make their return to the top flight after winning the Sky Bet Championship last season.

The current three-year domestic broadcasting rights for the Premier League is worth £5.14billion, with slots now ranging from Friday night through the weekend and onto Monday evenings.

The FSF Kick-Off Times Working Group, which has meetings with both the governing body and broadcasters, believes the potential inconvenience to fans needs addressing.

"Supporters are once again being asked to spend more of their time traipsing across the country to meet broadcasters' needs at ridiculous times. Three more games are also being broadcast in September this season than were last season," a statement from the FSF read.

"There are so many examples which put fans out it's difficult to know where to begin, although TV's efforts in giving Newcastle United fans 4pm Sunday kick-offs at Swansea City and Brighton stand out.

"Other trips which will sting supporters include Manchester City's trips to both Brighton on Saturday evening and Bournemouth on a Saturday lunchtime, Huddersfield Town at West Ham United on a Monday night, and Spurs' trip to Newcastle for a 1.30pm Sunday start.

"Supporters will also ask why October and November's fixtures cannot be announced at this time - this would allow match-going fans to book time off work and order advance rail tickets."

Tottenham also confirmed on Thursday their match against Burnley at Wembley had been moved to Sunday August 27, kicking off at 4pm, due to the Rugby League Challenge Cup final taking place at the national stadium.

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