Fans have criticized BT Sport’s decision via Twitter to introduce a Saturday night kickoff for the teams involved in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Premier League signed an agreement on Thursday to extend their TV Right deal through 2025 with the broadcaster – which has 52 matches in two packages – as part of a new extension of their £ 4.5 billion deal.
However, in a statement confirming the news, BT Sport chiefs wrote: ‘BT Sport will comply with the new Premier League agreement on game congestion during the UEFA Champions League weeks, with the BT Sport game taking place on Saturday. moved to a 7:45 pm prime evening raft when teams involved played in Europe the Wednesday before. ‘
Fans have criticized BT Sport’s new kickoff time for teams like Manchester City, which will be in Champions League action on Wednesday.
The Premier League has confirmed an extension of an existing £ 4.5 billion TV deal with BT Sport
But the move has sparked the ire of supporters across the country, who have turned down treatment from fans despite their absence from stadiums for over a year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
One fan wrote: ’19:45 kick-off times on a Saturday night is a shame.
“Does BT arrange travel arrangements for supporters going home?”
Another agreed, claiming that the message to fans was ‘daunting’ and shattered the relationship between the two sides:
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Liverpool played in the 12.30pm kick-off on Saturday after the European matchdays this season, forcing the change
‘Fans not even an afterthought, but no thought at all,’ wrote journalist Tim Stillman.
Already hopes for better treatment of fans after more than a year of playing behind closed doors are in tatters. Quite a daunting message, actually. ‘
However, a BT Sport spokesperson said Sportsmail the starting time decision was made by the Premier League, not the broadcaster.
The Premier League did not comment when contacted by Sportsmail.
Other supporters pointed to what they believe is the ironic part of the announcement, with television companies showing ‘no attention’ to supporters just a few weeks after supporting fans in their protests against the failed European Super League.
“Shocking decision, 5.30pm should be the last these games launch, no more thought of traveling fans, even though these media companies say they support the fans.”
Another agreed, simply stating, ‘A few weeks ago BT / Sky, we kiss they were all about the fans, blah blah,’ while another said, ‘Match going fans get shot here.’
Fans highlighted the alleged irony of the move just weeks after media companies backed protests against the European Super League
Another claimed the broadcaster would offer a less attractive product, taking into account the Europa League, adding: ‘If this is the case, they will also have to prevent Europa League teams from playing early on Sunday after a game on Thursday evening.
“They will have a hard time getting all the quota for each TV package with that.”
The announcement comes in a season where both Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were critical of the 12.30pm kick-off after a Champions League matchday.
After his team’s draw in Brighton in November, the German Klopp said: ‘I don’t know how many times to say it, but you [BT Sport] choose the kick-offs at 12:30 pm.
‘There is another Wednesday, Saturday between now and December. These are difficult times. I’m just saying it like it is. Wednesday to Saturday 12:30 pm is really dangerous.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) and Jurgen Klopp (right) have criticized this season’s schedule
‘The problem is we have a contract, we signed the contract. In this season it is more of a problem because there is no pre-season and all this sort of thing. Then I say it’s not okay. Take a look at how many teams have had this slot three times up to December. ‘
But one fan saw the funny side of it and insisted that Klopp shouldn’t worry about similar situations next season with his side seven points out of the top four, saying: ‘Shouldn’t affect Liverpool next year, well done Jurgen at his campaign for the CL teams. ‘
Solskjaer, meanwhile, launched an incredible assault on the joke ‘planning’ after they beat Everton in early November, 48 hours after returning from the Champions League action against Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey.
“Our boys were planning to fail with the planning today,” he raged. How can you expect players to perform with the kick-off time of 12:30 PM? It’s an absolute joke.
‘Of course we tried to move this game. What was the point of playing Saturday afternoon when we could play on Sunday because of the international break afterwards.
‘I pushed my club to really fight this to give us half a chance. But it was simply destroyed and we were told ‘No, it has been selected’.
Use common sense and arrange the schedule. This is such a serious problem that we are not taking care of these players. They are not robots, they are humans.
“We came back from Turkey around four on Thursday morning and are asked to play at 12.30 on Saturday.”
United fans have expressed concern about their absent fans having to make a trip back from London
And United fans showed the same concern, with one saying: ‘So how can road fans get back from London around 10.30pm on a Saturday night?
“Will @ManUtd or the @premierleague make sure there is public transportation at that time?”
The new TV deal – also involving Sky Sports and Amazon Prime – will see the Premier League pay an additional £ 100 million to lower leagues and grassroots clubs to gain government backing for a new three-year domestic TV deal .
That decision came after being told the price for avoiding a competitive bid would be more funding for the rest of the sport.