Leeds United: Bates urges broadcasters to give fans a break

Ken Bates. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

Ken Bates. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

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Leeds United have called for reduced number of televised games next season ahead of the announcement of their fixtures for the 2011-12 campaign.

Chairman Ken Bates wants to avoid a repeat of the recent Championship term in which nine of United’s league matches were rearranged to accommodate live broadcasts.

Bates criticised what he said was an excessive focus on United’s schedule which “plays havoc with our fans’ travel arrangements” and called on the Championship’s broadcasters – Sky Sports and the BBC – to limit their selections from Leeds’ schedule for the forthcoming season.

The fixture list for the new Championship term will be published at 9am on Friday, June 17, and an announcement about which of the initial games will be televised is expected to follow soon after. Bates said: “We’ll be trying to work out which games Sky will try to hijack and move around.

“Because we’re one of the most attractive clubs in the Championship, they want us on TV all the time.

“The problem with that is it plays havoc with our fans’ travel arrangements and it’s only fair that we get a few less games this season – certainly at home.”

The BBC opted to show United’s first match of last season, at home to Derby County, and a further eight Championship games were switched from their original kick-off time to allow for televised broadcasts.

In total, five of United’s first 13 league fixtures last term were shown by Sky and the BBC.

Luke Ayling.

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