The kick-off time for next season’s Community Shield between Manchester City and Arsenal has been moved to 4 PM [BST] on Sunday August 6, the FA have confirmed in a statement.
City fans protested on social media after it was announced previously that the game would kick off at 5:30 PM [BST] on the same day – in anticipation of travel issues the club’s fans would face on their journey back to the north-west.
1894, a Manchester City supporter group, led the charge on social media this week by urging fellow Blues to boycott the fixture due to its problematic timing and instead donate to MCFC Fans Foodbank Support.
The fundraiser has smashed the £5,000 mark in just three days, reflecting the uproar caused amongst the travelling fans from Manchester.
Following the backlash caused online, the Football Association have brought the kick-off timing for the Community Shield 90 minutes forward – moving it to 4 PM [BST] on Sunday August 6.
An official statement read: “The new, earlier kick-off time for the traditional ‘curtain raiser’ of the domestic season has been agreed following consultation with our broadcast partners, the local authorities, police, and the competing clubs.
“The decision to move the kick-off time was taken following full consideration of the transport challenges for fans returning to Manchester after the match.”
However, whilst appreciating this is a step in the right direction, there have been calls for English football’s chief governing body to move the game further forward.
A statement by Manchester City fan group 1894 read: “We would like to see the kick off time for the Community Shield brought forward to 3pm if it has to be on the Sunday. 4pm will still mean significant travel challenges for supporters.
“Whilst some fans will now feel they can attend the game the best way to ensure an excellent turn out would be to move the game to 3pm and there is no reason why ITV with its numerous free to air channels , cannot make this happen.
“This is not just a Manchester City issue. Next year this could be two other northern clubs being asked to kick off at 5.30pm – or later still.
“Fans of many other clubs can see this could apply to them in the future and we thank them for their support. Finally thousands of pounds has been raised for MCFC Foodbank in 3 days so thanks to all City fans for their generosity.”
MCFC Fans Foodbank Support have also joined 1894 in calls for the fixture to be brought forward. A statement read: “This is only a good first step and we do not believe that it is acceptable.
“Bringing it forward to 4 PM [BST] does not meet the concerns of thousands of City fans who will still only get home extremely late on a Sunday night and still face many unnecessary travel challenges along the way.
“It is clear that the FA only changed this due to the negative press rather than because the needs of fans were important to the organisation.
“We are prepared to make a stand until the game is moved further to a time that demonstrates the FA truly has considered the needs of fans rather than treating match-going supporters as an afterthought, then working out the bare minimum as an attempt to fob us off.
“If fans work together and fight back, we can force governing bodies and others in positions of power to back down.”
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