Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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EFL clubs are considering delaying kick-off times for Saturday games to cut bills

The question of earlier kick-off times as a possible solution to rising costs will be back on the agenda when the EFL clubs meet next week.

Discussions about possible responses to the cost-of-living crisis were already taking place and gained momentum on Wednesday when a poll of clubs revealed broad support for the idea.

More than 60 per cent of 40 clubs surveyed by Fair Game, including a dozen from the EFL, said they would consider postponing kick-off times for Saturday’s league games and FA Cup games to meet their bills, including for lighting and heating reduce .

The cost of floodlighting is currently up 200 percent. Fair Game is a club-led campaign group concerned with the governance of football and the financial health of the game across the English football pyramid, working with 34 clubs in the EFL and outside the league.

Postponing kick-off times is not an easy decision, as the EFL noted during their initial board-level discussions on the matter, with potential cost savings likely to be offset by reduced attendance.

Higher up the pyramid, where the crowds are larger, it also means a disruption for a larger number of people and a midday kick-off could entail the additional cost of overnight travel for away teams. In practice, it could be clubs below the EFL in the pyramid where savings from earlier kick-off times can be maximised.

Sixty per cent of clubs surveyed also told Fair Game they are considering halting any ground improvements, while 40 per cent may be looking to cut their budget for non-playing staff.

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