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    19 June 2023

    Empty Seats Predicted for Community Shield Due to Late Sunday Kick-off Time

    The Strange Timing of the Community Shield Match Between Manchester City and Arsenal

    Football fans are up in arms over the scheduling of the upcoming Community Shield match between Manchester City and Arsenal. The game is set to take place on August 6th at Wembley Stadium, with kick-off scheduled for 5:30 pm BST. However, supporters have expressed concerns that this time slot will make it difficult for many people to attend.

    The Football Supporters’ Association has condemned the decision to hold the game on a Sunday evening, which they say was made at “the behest of the FA’s broadcasters.” They argue that this change from previous years when games were held earlier in the afternoon will lead to empty seats and detract from what should be an exciting start to the new season.

    Manchester City fan group WeAre1894 has gone even further, calling for a boycott of the match due to what they describe as “significant travel challenges.” In response, some fans have pledged not to attend or have offered their tickets up for resale. Instead of buying tickets themselves, WeAre1894 members are urging others to donate £10 or equivalent towards food banks in Manchester.

    A Message Sent Through Absence?

    In a statement released by WeAre1894, they explain that while they understand how important it is for fans to support their team at such events, collective action can bring about positive change:

    “The 17:30 kick-off time presents significant challenges from Manchester, making it difficult for many loyal supporters to attend,”

    WeAre1894 goes on:

    “It’s time match-going fans were treated as a priority rather than an afterthought.”

    The group hopes that by staying away en masse during such a high-profile match, they can send a message to both the Football Association and ITV, who will be broadcasting live. They say that their collective absence from the stadium will demonstrate their discontent with current scheduling practices and advocate for fairer game times in the future.

    It’s worth noting that while some fans are unhappy with the new timing of this year’s Community Shield match, others have pointed out that it may make it easier for international viewers to tune in due to time differences. However, this argument is unlikely to sway those who see themselves as being disadvantaged by such changes.

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