Following a meeting with The Premier League on November 2, concerning the scheduling of the Wolves v Chelsea fixture on Christmas Eve, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust & Wolves 1877 Trust have issued the following comment.
A detailed report of the meeting itself follows this.
A joint comment by the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust & Wolves 1877 Trust:
The opposition to this fixture change was made clear 6 days before the final announcement, yet these concerns were consistently ignored by the Premier League. We are disappointed that our early request to reschedule the fixture was rejected. It is important to note Saturday, December 23 [20:00] is an available slot – but this was also refused.
Last season, 15.2m supporters attended Premier League matches – a new competition record. Despite these exceptional attendance figures, the Premier League has once again demonstrated that it will put the requirements of the broadcasters ahead of matchgoing supporters by breaking its own 28-year-old precedent and scheduling Wolves v Chelsea on Christmas Eve.
Our message is clear – stop treating matchgoing supporters with total disrespect. Decisions like these make a mockery of CEO Richard Master’s own words when he launched the league’s ‘Fan Engagement Standard, where he said:
“It is vital we ensure the voices of supporters are not only heard in the stands but also when it comes to having a say on key issues relating to their clubs.”
Fixture changes like these are key issues for all of us, and we must have a genuine say in decisions about them. Meaningful consultation only happens during the decision making process, the Premier League has failed to deliver against its own Fan Engagement Standard.
Decisions like these also risk stadia becoming lifeless, soulless, and without passion.
Our concerns that supporters were not at the forefront of the decision-making process were not allayed during our recent meeting. While the Premier League has acknowledged our views on this issue, we strongly urge officials to publicly address the very strong supporter concerns on scheduling and similar issues. A very clear behavioural shift is required.
A better balance between supporters inside the ground and fans watching on TV is required. This is the responsibility of all 20 Premier League Clubs and the Premier League itself.
Thursday 2 November – Meeting Report
- The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Wolves 1877 Trust, and FSA met with Premier League representatives on Thursday 2 November, including Premier League representatives at Director level.
- The meeting was held to examine the decision to schedule Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC on Christmas Eve.
- The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and Wolves 1877 Trust formally requested that the Premier League reverse this decision and were unequivocally clear that scheduling a fixture on this date must not happen again.
- The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and Wolves 1877 Trust communicated that it is totally unacceptable to schedule a fixture on Christmas Eve due to clear and obvious family and transport issues.
- We appreciate the step-by-step guide that the Premier League presented us regarding scheduling and the difficulties that naturally are attached to this. While supporter groups were heartened by the comments that there is not another Christmas Eve on a weekend until 2028, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and Wolves 1877 Trust remain unconvinced of the reasons for scheduling this fixture on Christmas Eve.
- Supporter groups from all 20 Premier League clubs submitted statements opposing the decision to schedule a fixture on Christmas Eve. It is clear that there is a general lack of trust and that supporters do not believe that the Premier League will put supporters first when making decisions regarding scheduling. The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and Wolves 1877 Trust questioned how the Premier League will improve this lack of trust and suggested that they should commit to meaningful consultation with supporters on scheduling in the future ahead of fixtures being released.
Additional information provided by the Premier League
- The Premier League confirms that Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Chelsea will be played on 24 December.
- This season Christmas Eve falls on a weekend, allowing for a 1pm kick-off that assists with travel and other logistics.
- Chelsea has added to the available public transport options with free coach travel for visiting ticket holders.
- Wolves will be discussing ticketing arrangements with its Fan Advisory Board representatives this coming week, prior to home sales commencing.
- The Premier League acknowledges the view of the Chelsea and Wolves Supporters Trusts, the Football Supporters Association and the other affiliated groups that contributed to their statement. We will continue to discuss fixture scheduling with the FSA and fan representatives, including at our forthcoming Supporters Meeting in December.