Sport League of Ireland

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Derry City request kick-off change to avoid time clash with Man United

Published 11/08/2015 | 13:47

General view of the Brandywell Stadium home of Derry City FC.
General view of the Brandywell Stadium home of Derry City FC.

Derry City have lodged a request with the FAI over their Friday night kick-off so that the game does not clash with the Manchester United's visit to Aston Villa at the same time.

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The Premier League match has been brought forward to Friday night due to a planned English Defence League march in Birmingham city centre on the Saturday, meaning it is a one-off for this season, though next year there will be 10 Friday night televised matches in the EPL.

Derry are due to host champions Dundalk at the Brandywell, one of six fixtures scheduled for Friday night, but the club has made the request as they feel the unique Premier League fixture will impact on attendance.

“Obviously it’s going to affect the crowds for all home teams in the League of Ireland this Friday night," City chief executive Sean Barrett told the Derry Journal.

“We spoke to the FAI to see if we could have the game brought forward."

Barrett admitted that the Association are "reluctant" to make any changes but believes there may be power in numbers if the other clubs are in agreement.

“The FAI have assured us that it won’t be a concern this year [Friday night Premier League matches on Sky Sports] because they were bringing it in over a period of time.

“Obviously it’s going to affect the crowds for all home teams in the League of Ireland this Friday night, however.

“It’s something the league are going to have a serious look at for next season because Manchester United, Arsenal and teams like that, playing on a Friday night, are going to affect the crowds - there’s no doubt about that.

“We’re looking at different alternatives. But what are the alternatives - Saturday at 5pm? But there’s a game on then. Is it Sunday? - there’s two games on then and there’s one on Monday. And then on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays there’s Champions League games. So it’s just going to be very difficult to get a slot for League of Ireland games.

“I don’t know what the standard of Friday night games are going to be but unfortunately they're starting off with a big one. It’s a serious concern for the club because we’re trying to get as much revenue in as we can. Premiership football is a big attraction to young people especially and it will affect the crowd.”

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