Saints sore at FAI over changing of fixtures

Aidan Fitzmaurice

ST PATRICK'S Athletic have pleaded for more consultation with the powers that be in the FAI after the club were left faced with the prospect of a serious drop in revenue due to fixture changes.

The FAI this week announced that four games -- all featuring the Saints -- will be shown live on RTE TV. But the Pats board and their supporters groaned when they saw the actual fixture list as three of those games will kick off at 1pm on a Saturday afternoon, to suit the needs of TV and, in the case of the October 9 league game against Bohemians, avoid a clash with the Ireland-Russia European Championship qualifier.

Pats claimed they were only informed of the fixture changes two days ago and they fear that the Saturday kick-offs will harm their gate receipts, especially for the FAI Cup clash with Sporting Fingal and the league game with Bohemians next month.

"We need the games at a set time -- Friday night is football night and that's the way it should be," said Saints official Philip Nolan (pictured above).

"All the local junior football clubs, GAA clubs and others will be packed with kids playing games at this time on Saturday lunchtime.

"We would like a consensus for next season that Saturday games are at seven or eight in the evening. What's next, putting it on live after Oireachtais Report! We are going to have to work very hard to get extra revenue in for the Fingal cup match (Saturday, September 18).

"When we looked at the figures for the last Sporting Fingal match played on a Sunday afternoon, we were looking at a loss of revenue on that occasion of €10,000.

"Bohemians is one of our biggest gates, along with Shamrock Rovers. Bohs would take a hell of a lot of tickets for games here.

"Will they now come to the match or stay at home and watch it on TV? There has to be some sort of chat. We are all in this together, all 22 clubs, with the FAI, with the league.

"We have all got to sit down and advance together. If TV companies cover us then they do so at 7pm on a Saturday night, not 1pm. They don't move the Angeles around at six o'clock to suit other things," Nolan added.