More fixture disturbance for Whites fans TSS January 16, 2017 Leeds United Sky Sports have selected two additional Leeds United fixtures to be televised, starting with our away trip to Birmingham City which will now take place on Friday the 3rd of March at 19:45. In addition to this, Leeds’ increasingly important home game against Brighton and Hove Albion will now kick-off at 17:30 instead of the traditional 3pm Saturday kick-off time, although mercifully, the date remains the same and it’ll still take place on March 18th. With these two fixtures, Leeds’ running total for televised fixtures this season stands at sixteen, which has to be among the highest in the Football League and is causing understandable frustration for both the club and its fans. While Sky Sports have taken into consideration the disruption fixture movements cause fans and aim to give more notice of their scheduling, part of the problem with an adaptable fixture list is that football is sold in advance. As season ticket holders, when you get your tickets from the club at the start of each season, the fixture list is what the rest of the year will be based around. It might be a holiday or trip somewhere or simply the requirement of booking days off to ensure work doesn’t get in the way, being a season ticket holder intent on seeing every match is a serious commitment and inherently disruptive to those around us who know our availability will be limited by football matches. The problem doubles if you attend away games, as many Leeds United fans, myself included, do. Even if tickets don’t go on-sale before any movement takes place, chances are arrangements have been made based on the original date, whether that be finishing early or taking a day off work. hotel bookings, transport or simply putting off something else to attend the game, away fixtures require a day in your calendar be blotted out and marked for football, which means an away fixture – and any potential movement of that fixture – doesn’t just affect the individual fan, but also those close to that fan. So when, for example, my ever-patient and unbelievably understanding better half makes plans for us to spend a rare day together doing something she wants to do, she does so by first consulting the fixture list of a Championship football team. It’s a burden she accepts is a consequence of our relationship and one, god bless her, she has never complained about. None of which makes it any easier to tell her something she’s been looking forward to for months will have to be rearranged because the TV Gods decided we should be televised and thus, moved to an absurd Friday night kick-off slot. And of course, this isn’t a problem exclusive to Leeds United, nor season ticket holders and people attending away games. Every fixture movement is disruptive to fans, no matter what the team or purchasing preference. There was a well-documented (and admittedly extreme) case last season in which Leeds fans travelling from Norway totally missed the match they’d arranged to come and see because Sky Sports moved the fixture. It begs the question – what’s the point of a fixture list if those it concerns can’t make plans based upon it? While Sky Sports are an easy target in all this, an antiquated FA rule that insists football matches not be shown live at 3pm on a Saturday doesn’t help matters. Their honest-to-god reasoning for this is that it’d affect attendances should they allow live coverage of a fixture taking place at a reasonable time – (whereas moving fixtures to midweek and playing them as late as possible, knowing we all have to be up for work the next day, sends us flocking to the turnstiles…?) Clearly it’d take both parties to fix this problem once and for all. The FA need to abandon their outdated and frankly preposterous rule and Sky Sports could use that extra freedom to keep live coverage to the originally planned day. With cup runs and potential fixture postponement when bad weather hits, there’s enough disruption to a 46 match fixture list already without the governing bodies and our TV overlords piling on.