Leeds United fans left out of pocket over Sky Sports' decision to change date of Aston Villa clash

Leeds United fans have cried foul over the decision to switch the date of the club's final Championship home game of the season so it can be shown on TV.

By Paul Robinson
Sunday, 21st April 2019, 3:11 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st April 2019, 3:59 pm
Leeds United fans during Saturday's game against Wigan Athletic.
Leeds United fans during Saturday's game against Wigan Athletic.

Promotion-chasing United were originally due to play Aston Villa at Elland Road this Saturday but, at the start of the month, it was announced that the match had been moved to Sunday lunchtime and would be screened live on Sky Sports.

Since then, the Yorkshire Evening Post's social media platforms have been inundated with messages from unhappy supporters whose travel arrangements have been affected by the change.

Under normal English Football League (EFL) guidelines, clubs and fans have to be given at least five weeks' notice when a game is moved for TV.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

But for matches, like Villa, that are taking place on the penultimate weekend of the season, only three weeks' notice is needed.

The announcement regarding the potentially-crucial Villa game was made on April 5, 22 days before it was originally set to be played.

United are the most televised club in the Championship, with Easter Monday's match at Brentford being the 20th Whites fixture chosen for Sky Sports coverage this season alone.

A spokeswoman for the Leeds United Supporters' Trust told the YEP: "This is nothing new, it's been happening to Leeds United fans for years.

"Our supporters are consistently being left out of pocket due to late fixture changes and Leeds United are the club who have suffered the highest amount of fixture changes in the Championship this season.

"Sky appear to prioritise viewing figures over fan convenience, so it's up to the EFL to show they care about the club's supporters and put pressure on the broadcasters in any future deals to ensure we are treated fairly."

Fans complaining about the date change include Richard Marchant, who wrote on Facebook: "We had booked to go to Majorca on the Sunday. No way am I missing the last home game so switched to Monday at a cost of £540."

Another disgruntled supporter, Peter Cooper, wrote: "Travelling from Aberdeen we try getting good deals then sky sports [come] along and upset everyone so we have to book an extra day that cost more money so thanks sky sports."

Also on Facebook, Luke Kirk wrote: "Everyone saying 'sky cant do this' should have learned by now sky can do whatever they want. This game was always going to be on TV."

A spokesman for Sky Sports told the YEP that the broadcaster had no official comment to make.