In the wake of yet another Leeds United match being selected for live coverage by Sky Sports, Whites fan Scott Jones of Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, has organised a petition calling on Sky TV to stop causing fixture changes at short notice.
The reasoning behind the petition, hosted by Change.org, is that many fans of Leeds United (and other clubs) live far from the stadium, some even abroad, and they must necessarily arrange tickets, travel and accommodation quite some time in advance. The subsequent rearrangement of fixtures will inevitably cause financial loss and great inconvenience to these fans, who are left feeling that their concerns are of no importance to the big companies concerned.
Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything feels strongly that these fans, whichever club they support, have a solid argument to the effect that a minimum notice period should be observed, without which games should not be rearranged. An alternative course would be adequate compensation for fans thus affected, as a matter of course and with no quibbles.
There are, of course, two sides to every coin. Live TV coverage is of great value to those who, for whatever reason, cannot get along to games in person. And some games will suddenly assume greater significance, with a consequent justification (Sky might argue) for selecting such games at short notice. But match-going supporters remain the lifeblood of football, and their understandable worries and concerns should not lightly be dismissed, nor indeed ridden over roughshod – as it appears all too frequently is happening. At the very least, the issue is worthy of consideration by the relevant bodies, and some attention should be paid as to how supporters’ concerns might be addressed.
For the Leeds United v Middlesbrough fixture just selected for coverage and therefore put back to the Monday evening, I have heard of a large party flying in from Norway, of a group who have paid four figures for an executive box, and sundry other groups and individuals whose long-established plans have been thrown into disarray, just on Mr. Murdoch‘s airy whim. This is simply not good enough. It’s high time Sky stopped messing loyal fans about, fans who have spent time and money making travel arrangements long in advance of the original fixture, from far afield. They lose out big time and Sky doesn’t seem to care one jot.
The Change.org petition started by Scott Jones can be signed here. It’s worthy of support, so please take a little time – out of consideration for your fellow fans – to do just that.