Fulham Supporters' Trust labels kick-off time for Cardiff FA Cup tie 'insulting'

19 December 2016 05:39

The decision to move Cardiff's FA Cup third-round clash against Fulham to a Sunday morning kick-off has been labelled "insulting" by the Fulham Supporters' Trust.

The Bluebirds were drawn to host their Sky Bet Championship rivals, with the fixture subsequently moved to an 1130 kick-off on Sunday, January 8 so the game can be shown live on BBC Wales.

But Fulham fans have reacted strongly to the announcement, which severely limits their travel options to make South Wales in time for kick-off on the day in question.

In the open letter published on its website, the Fulham Supporters' Trust stated its unhappiness with the rescheduling.

"We were very disappointed with the decision to reschedule the FA Cup Third Round tie between Cardiff City and Fulham for Sunday 8 January, with an 11.30am kick off, that was announced earlier this week," it read.

"The FA Cup third round is one of the most momentous days in the footballing calendar and, although the competition's enduring value has been questioned in recent years, it remains a draw that fans await with great anticipation.

"Moving the game for television has become something that the modern football fan has had to get used to, but picking a time of 11.30am is particularly insulting to the supporters who are the lifeblood of the game."

The open letter also claimed both sets of fans face a battle to make it to the Cardiff City Stadium in time for the early start.

It continued: "The train options leave Fulham fans with just one direct service that will arrive into Cardiff at 10:59am, and facing the likelihood of altered (or delayed) services, due to works being undertaken, on the mainline leaving London Paddington and the certainty of severe disruption to the Tube service prior to departure.

"We also note that many Cardiff City supporters may have great difficulty in reaching the stadium from various locations across Wales due to the early kick-off time."

Fulham, who were knocked out at the third-round stage last season, drew 2-2 at home to Cardiff when they met in the league in August.

But the supporters' trust also claims there will be a poor turnout for this meeting as fans have been overlooked.

"We are appreciative of both clubs' attempts to provide free travel options for their fans, but any previous planned initiatives to improve attendance at this fixture will have been doomed by this decision," the open letter said.

"As a public service broadcaster, BBC Wales should have a duty to consider the wider implications of their scheduling - and the fact that you have chosen this kick-off time shows just how far the ordinary fan has slipped down the pecking order in the modern game."

The letter, signed by Fulham Supporters' Trust secretary Neil Springate, also asked for clarification on the reasons behind the decision.

Source: PA