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Chelsea fans furious as fixture moved twice in three days

Being a fan of a Premier League club can often feel like you are the least important person in the world. Supporters are unfortunately used to being disregarded, as the Premier League and TV broadcast holders stage games at increasingly ridiculous times.

But Chelsea fans were left even more irate on Friday as they were informed their game against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane would kick-off at 17:30 on Sunday 7 April – just two days after being told the fixture would kick-off at 13:30.

Stamford Bridge Stadium - Football Ground - Chelsea FC Stadium 1
Chelsea fans outside the ground before the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Sunday May 28, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

Why was the game moved twice in three days?

On Wednesday 28 February, fans were informed that the match would be moved 13:30 on 7 April. This was because the game had been scheduled to be shown on TV as part of Super Sunday.

Naturally, as fans tend to do whenever definite dates for games are announced, many Chelsea fans went about booking their travel straight away, so as to guarantee a train or bus at a halfway-reasonable price.

However, on Friday supporters were told that due to the Sheffield half-marathon taking place in the city centre that day, the kick-off time would be moved to 17:30.

The Sheffield half-marathon has run for many years in the city, and neither the police nor the council had raised any objections to the Chelsea game taking place at 13:30. But, apparently, that changed once the fixture was announced, and the kick-off time had to be changed again.

How have Chelsea fans responded?

Chelsea fans are unsurprisingly upset by the change. Posting on X, the Chelsea Supporters Trust wrote: “There has been a suggestion that the decision makers were unaware of the Half Marathon when initially authorising the lunchtime kick-off, despite the Sheffield Half Marathon being a long standing event in the city centre.”

“In a season where Chelsea have kicked off only four times at the traditional 3pm and have had many inconvenient kick-off time slots (including the first Christmas Eve fixture in 28 years), this is just another kick in the teeth to loyal match-going supporters.”

“This is the latest occasion of supporters being treated with disrespect, especially as this issue was totally foreseeable. Our message to all parties involved with fixture scheduling is clear: stop treating match-going supporters with total disrespect or risk stadiums becoming lifeless, soulless, and without passion.”


The CST have also asked any supporters who booked travel and accommodation to email them with their expenses. These will then be forwarded to the Premier League and the clubs involved, with the hope that Sheffield United will have to reimburse those affected.


Jamie Barton

A freelance football writer and podcaster, Jamie has appeared on/in the BBC World Service, PA Media, Charlton Athletic FC and Empire of the Kop, among others. He's attended matches all around the world, from Tranmere to Tokyo, and once had his bus home from the 2022 Champions League final in Paris delayed by 28 hours.

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