A Liverpool supporters’ group has urged the Premier League and Amazon Prime to rethink the 8pm kick-off time on Boxing Day for the Reds’ trip to Leicester.
Amazon Prime will exclusively televise all nine fixtures on December 26, plus Wolves versus Manchester City the following day, but the announcement of a late kick-off at the King Power Stadium has annoyed some Liverpool fans.
With reduced public transport and no trains running between the two cities, Liverpool are offering free coach travel although the club are charging a £5 reservation fee, with proceeds going to a local charity.
Liverpool fans’ group Spirit of Shankly said in a statement on its official website: “The latest round of televised Premier League games has been announced and once again there is scant, if any, consideration given to match-going supporters and those employed at the stadiums.
“Both sets of supporters will encounter difficulty getting to and from the stadium. (Liverpool fans) will not get home until after midnight and the following day is back to work for many.
“And let’s not forget the Leicester City employees and those working in public services who will be required to work these hours. How will they get there, and how will they get home?
“The Premier League and TV companies repeatedly ignore the welfare of supporters. But they do have a chance to redeem themselves.
“Spirit of Shankly call on the authorities to do the right thing and revert all Boxing Day fixtures to a sensible kick-off time. We suggest 3pm.”
Amazon Prime’s first foray into screening Premier League matches starts with a set of midweek fixtures on December 3, 4 and 5 while there are four kick-off times for the Boxing Day fixtures.
Tottenham will welcome Brighton in a match that will start at 12.30pm, there will be six 3pm kick-offs while Newcastle are scheduled to visit Manchester United at 5.30pm.
BT Sport, meanwhile, will televise the nine games on New Year’s Day, plus Liverpool’s clash against Sheffield United on January 2.
Defending Premier League champions Manchester City have reacted to the Christmas schedule with dismay as they face three games in the space of six days because of the fixture reshuffle.
Following their trip to Wolves, they have 48 hours to prepare for the visit of Sheffield United on December 29 before welcoming Everton on New Year’s Day.
Omar Berrada, chief operating officer of City, told the Manchester Evening News: “We’re disappointed that the schedule is so tight for the players over Christmas.
“Premier League games are a huge physical demand, and it’s not ideal to be made to play twice in less than 48 hours because it doesn’t give the players time to properly recover.
“We obviously understand that the paying rights-holding broadcasters are an important consideration when it comes to scheduling, but we also need to make sure that we protect the players’ well-being, the sporting integrity of the league, and the quality of the product.”
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