?The Premier League have refused to entertain Sky Sports’ request to show a match at 4pm on Christmas Eve, according to the Football Supporters’ Federation.
The FSF took to their official Twitter account to relay the news to their followers, and strike a huge victory to fans of Chelsea and Liverpool in particular.
The Blues’ and Reds’ fanbases were facing the possibility of not being able to travel back from clashes with Everton and Arsenal on Merseyside and in London respectively due to the vast majority of public transport shutting down ahead of the festive period’s bank holidays.
Breaking news: @premierleague CEO Richard Scudamore commits to no 4pm KO on Xmas Eve following this morning’s FSF Fans Group meeting.
— The FSF (@The_FSF) October 10, 2017
However, after the FF held a meeting with the EPL’s chief executive Richard Scudamore, those in attendance were informed that the Premier League would not sanction a 4pm kick off for any game on 24th December.
Sky had hoped to broadcast Liverpool’s trip to the Emirates stadium live on that day as part of their ‘Super Sunday’ package to customers, but were roundly criticised by fans of the Merseysiders, as well as Arsenal’s supporter base, for failing to take their journeys to and from the ground into consideration.
Arsenal had already stated that they may not have been able to provide the correct number of police officers and stewards to maintain fan safety during the match, while Chelsea issued a statement last Friday as they backed their fans over their potential Chirstmas Eve clash at Goodison Park.
Labour MP Tom Watson had written to Scudamore himself to outline concerns about matches going ahead on Christmas Eve, and not taking fans’ travel plans into account.
He had written: “There’s a real danger that some travelling fans would not be able to get home until the early hours of Christmas Day, whilst hundreds of stadium staff and workers would be expected to work rather than spending time with their families at this time of year.
“I accept that televised football on a Sunday, and over the Christmas period in the guise of Boxing Day fixtures, are a well-established part of the football calendar, but I urge you to recognise the concerns of fans, staff and families.”
The likelihood is that Blues fans will have to decide if a trip to L4 is a worthwhile investment if they don’t drive up for the encounter – given that trains are likely to cease departing from Liverpool’s Lime Street station after 4pm ahead of a possible 1:30pm kick off time – but this win for the FSF proves that Sky will not always get their own way when it comes to putting fans second behind broadcasting matches live.
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