Since television started ruling football, there have been some strange kick off times for many a match. 11am, 5pm, 10:30am, occasionally even 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. Now however, ITV have raised the bar by placing an FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Spurs on a Sunday at 6pm, to lock viewers into the final episode of Titanic (according to the Daily Mirror).

Chelsea’s original concern was that with a semi-final against Barcelona in the Champions League on the Wednesday, it gave insufficient time to recover in between the two matches. Chelsea are fine with playing on the Sunday, acknowledging Liverpool’s refusal to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, but have pleaded for an earlier kick off- a lunch-time kick off would make a difference, recovery-wise. In other countries, their FAs give preferential kick off times to teams in European competitions to maximise their chances. When Jose Mourinho was Porto manager, his team was sometimes allowed to play league games on a Friday night. Sam Wallace argued on the Sunday Supplement that the FA are right not to give the big teams preferential treatment as it isn’t fair on the other teams, and they have the resources to cope. I agree in principle, but when teams in other countries are getting special treatment, then it puts English teams at a disadvantage. Napoli played on Friday night before both their games against Chelsea, as did Benfica the other week.

But the main stupidity of this kick off time has nothing to do with Chelsea’s showdown with Barcelona. Apart from the fact it just feels wrong to watch a semi-final on a Sunday evening, it is inviting trouble to allow two sets of fans a whole day of drinking before kick off. The late kick off gives scant regards to families wishing to attend the match with the schools open the next day, and the usual engineering works on the rail network will only add to the difficulty in getting home at a reasonable time, especially if there is extra time and penalties.

The FA have declined to comment over Chelsea’s complaints, though I am not sure how much leverage they have over the scheduling by TV companies. Since the FA Cup semi-finals went to the new Wembley in 2008, the Sunday tie has always kicked off at 4pm. However, Manchester United play Aston Villa at that time, and ITV don’t want a clash.

Di Matteo’s suggestion of a Friday match was always a non-starter. As Sam Wallace has also commented, the dates (if not the times) are set in stone, agreed with Brent Council months in advance.

Money talks of course, and clubs have been happy to take this money and spend it. ITV paid £275m for a four year deal to show England and FA Cup games, and they need to recoup their outlay. A lunch time kick was thought to have risked a 50% drop in viewers. It’s a shame that the needs of football clubs at a vital time of the season are pushed to one side by a television company picking a time for a football match that gives them the maximum viewers and thus revenue, but that is the world we live in now.

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
Win a pair of Puma evoPOWER football boots

Terms and Conditions

Why?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall

Login

Comment without logging in

You will need to fill this out each time to comment so why not quickly login with Facebook!

*

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
Win a pair of Puma evoPOWER football boots

Terms and Conditions

Why login with Facebook?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall


  • jerkinmahjurgen
    2 years ago

    Chelsea have flaunted their arrogance in front of, and against, The FA, many times now and cannot expect any favours in return. lol, lolol, lolololol.

    Reply
    • thanvandam
      2 years ago

      hopefully

      Reply
  • Eidur
    2 years ago

    Forgetting the fact Chelsea are playing Barcelona a few days after the Spurs game, it’s a stupid time for a game between such teams.

    Both sets of fans already hate each other and this chain of events adds fuel to the fire, chuck several hours drinking time on top of that and you just know there’s going to be trouble.

    The I reckon they’ll be some trouble and both clubs will get an FA charge, despite warning the FA that this will likely happen.

    I don’t want preferential treatment from the FA, we’ll play a weaker side if we feel we need to, but stupidity is unacceptable and in the interest of safety and convenience, this suits no-one that is going to the game.

    Reply
  • TommyHarmer
    2 years ago

    Hopefully …………..

    Reply
  • Meh!
    2 years ago

    I seem to remember Spurs playing Sevilla on a Thursday night in Spain and the players arriving back in the UK at 1am Friday to play Chelsea on the Saturday lunchtime. I also remember that Spurs asked Chelsea to consider changing the kickoff time which Chelsea refused. Funny that they seem to have a problem with it now?

    Reply
    • SP
      2 years ago

      THIS
      Exactly

      All of a sudden Chelsea have a problem and think they are being treated unfairly.
      I have even read a ‘Chlelsea supporter’ complaining because this is more important than when Spurs were playing Sevilla (despite the fact that it was harder, because it was an away game, finishing at approx. 10 pm and meaning Spurs had to travel very late on the Thursday night), because ‘it is more important’ – how sad.

      How’s this for an idea: Chelsea play the game without any complaint whatsoever, and then whenever the occasion occurs again, no matter who is on the rough end of the stick, Chelsea complain to the FA – even if they could be benefitting from the fixture going ahead. Maybe then folk like me could take Chelsea’s complaint seriously, rather than seeing a little bit of retribution in it.

      Reply
  • Gare Kekeke
    2 years ago

    I have no sympathy for Chelsea on this matter. Considering their captain is to blame for England’s farcial preparations for the Euros, they have got exactly what they deserve. By now John Terry’s court case would have been resolved regardless of the verdict and yet the CEO of Chelsea stupidly convinced the magistrates that he and the Chelsea players can’t handle training, playing and court appearances at the same time.

    Reply