The FA WSL, BT Sport and the BBC seem to have conspired to upset Arsenal fans by no longer allowing us to enjoy a regular 2pm Sunday slot.
It is a good move in terms of exposure for the women’s team but a pain for fans, especially for away games where we are used to a 2pm kick-off.
Unfortunately for Arsenal this season, those have been a rarity.
Arsenal’s Sunday league games’ list and kick-off times:
- Liverpool H 12.30pm
- West Ham H 2pm
- Chelsea A 2pm
- Reading H 2pm
- Bristol A 3pm
- Birmingham H 12.30pm
- Everton A 12.30pm
- Brighton A 12.30pm
- Man City A 12.30pm
- West Ham A 12.30pm
- Chelsea H 12.30pm
- Reading A 12.30pm
- Liverpool A 12.30pm
- Birmingham A 12.30pm
That’s 10 12.30pm kick-offs, one 3pm, and three 2pm Sunday kick-offs.
Or, if you prefer, 22% of games played in the traditional women’s football slot.
Obviously, there have been midweek and cup games that are not included in this statistic.
What does it say about the club?
Arsenal are clearly a selling point for the FA WSL as one of the three big-budget teams (along with City, Chelsea).
The TV deal details with the BBC, FA WSL facebook page and BT are not known, but the money is probably not huge. It is, however, sufficient enough to disrupt the fans’ travel plans on a regular basis as we see in the men’s game.
Unlike in the men’s Premier League, however, kick-off times can be changed as late as they want. We have seen changes two weeks before a game, and one match was even moved with just seven days notice. That is not good for any travelling fans, home or away, who use public transport.
The FA does not even recognise away fans.
They appear in the home fans attendance column despite regular numbers from Chelsea, City, United, Liverpool, Birmingham, Reading, and others travelling all over the country.
TV exposure is good for the FA WSL brand but they should be fair and give other teams more exposure or simply televise the games that kick-off at 2pm instead of moving them forward to 12.30pm.
My stomach will also be happier because having a large meal at 11am is a problem. Not many grounds have restaurants in the surrounding area and those that do are not usually open at that time, except the fast food outlets, of course.
Let’s hope the FA and the TV broadcasters will apply some common sense and fairness to Arsenal fans next season and stop this 12.30 kick-off nonsense.