At the Wednesday September 29 meeting between the Premier League and Football Supporters Association [FSA], Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League, apologised for a delay to the November broadcast selections that was due to a policing and logistical issue linked to a major event. He added that the Premier League were working to ensure the target date for the festive period fixtures was met.
The FSA requested a seven-week deadline for fixture changes, while Masters committed to improved communications when a delay was known to be possible. According to the minutes he did not want to 'over-promise' on the potential for wider reform of the selection process but vowed to address the issue with the director of broadcasting.
The need for public transport for away fans attending games was raised with Masters by the FSA, who pointed out that both Leeds and Newcastle fans would face long journeys home from Brighton in November with no public transport available.
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Broadcast selections for the festive period were finally confirmed on Monday afternoon, a week later than promised. When they were finally confirmed on October 19 they held a grand total of seven changes for Leeds United games. The visit to Elland Road of Crystal Palace remains on Tuesday November 30 but will now kick off half an hour later at 8.15pm, while the Whites’ game at Manchester City has been switched from Wednesday, December 15 to Tuesday, December 14 with an 8pm kick-off in order to be screened by BT Sport.
The number of alterations and the lateness of the announcement from the Premier League has drawn the ire of LUST.
“It’s extremely frustrating but not surprising to see seven of our fixtures moved over the busy festive period,” Trust secretar Adam Willerton told The Yorkshire Evening Post.
“It’s also frustrating to see the Premier League repeatedly miss their self-imposed targets for announcing these fixture changes.
“The end of the year is a notoriously difficult time for broadcasters and the Premier League to agree fixtures changes, however with little to no communication when deadlines are missed, added to excessive and inconvenient changes, it’s easy to see why fans believe they are simply props in a very expensive television show.”
The Premier League website lists the dates by which they hope to announce fixture changes but do note the dates are approximate and subject to change.
A statement on the website reads: "Fixtures are amended throughout the season for several reasons, including live TV broadcast selections and to accommodate domestic and European cup competitions.
"For this reason, Premier League fixtures are always advertised as being subject to change."