Premier League: Saturday 19:45 kick-off proposals criticised by fans group

Newcastle fans
Newcastle fans might have to travel nearly 2,500 miles during a five-week period to watch league matches this season

The Premier League has been criticised by a fans group for considering playing games at 19:45 on Saturdays from 2019.

The working group - led by Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham supporters' trusts - said the kick-off time would cause "travel problems".

In a statement, the Premier League said it is required to show more matches in the 2019-20 season and is in talks with clubs about how that could work.

It said Sunday morning games are "not on the agenda", contrary to reports.

The Premier League is required, by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, to show 190 games in the UK during the 2019-20 season - an increase from the 168 currently televised. It is expected to make a decision about the proposed kick-off times later this year.

The working group - set up under the auspices of the Football Supporters' Federation - have been meeting broadcasters and the Premier League in an attempt to secure a better deal for away fans.

The group also voiced its disapproval over an increase in Premier League fixtures between 25 November 2017 and 1 January 2018, when each club will play 10 matches - three more than two years ago.

It said Newcastle United supporters travelling to all five away games in that period will face three trips to London "and travel a total of 2,484 miles".

The 2017-18 season will finish on 13 May, a week earlier than the 2016-17 campaign ended, to allow players extra preparation time for next summer's World Cup in Russia.

Asked by BBC Sport about concerns over the busier winter schedule, the Premier League pointed to an article on its website explaining how fixtures are compiled.

It reads: "You can't satisfy everyone. It's a compromise across all clubs; you can't do anything to favour any one club.

"There are 2,036 matches, across the Premier League and Football League over a nine-month period, and the ideal solution is to ensure that those matches can all be played when scheduled."

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