After a successful opening weekend to the 2016/17 domestic campaign, the EFL has today outlined this season’s approach to TV fixture scheduling to provide the best experience for its clubs and their supporters.
In a joint commitment with broadcast partner Sky Sports, the recently rebranded EFL has vowed to ensure all its clubs are given at least five weeks’ notice ahead of any matches selected for live television coverage.
Furthermore, the EFL will then commit to publicly announcing any fixture changes within three working days in order to give EFL supporters as much time as is possible to allow for any alterations to travel plans that may be required.
If both the EFL and Sky Sports are unable to meet this timeframe then the clubs involved have the ability to choose not to be broadcast live on television. However, if both Clubs mutually agree to the rescheduling of the fixture within this five-week period then the game will be played on the new date.
Throughout the course of Season 2016/17, 92 Sky Bet Championship fixtures will be screened exclusively live on Sky Sports along with 20 games from Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two.
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “This is an extremely important issue for fans up and down the country, one we understand and we will always seek to give fans as much notice as we can in respect of fixtures that are requested to be shown live on television as part of the broadcast contract.
“Sky Sports has invested significantly in our competition, helping clubs bring through improved facilities and better players on the pitch so while we are conscious of the impact scheduling matches for television coverage can have, there is a balance to strike. We want as many people to enjoy the EFL as possible; in the stadiums, at home or watching in the pub. We look forward to working together on the five-week commitment and other initiatives over the course of the next 10 months, in what is shaping up to be yet another exciting season in the EFL.”
In addition to moving fixtures for TV, games can still be rearranged at short notice if players are called up to their respective international sides. Under current EFL rules, if three players from a first team squad are selected by their national team for a competitive or friendly match on a FIFA International Match Calendar date, clubs have the right to postpone and reschedule.
As part of this announcement the latest tranche of live Sky Bet EFL TV games, in October and November, are revealed and there are plenty of mouth-watering clashes set to take place in front of the cameras.
In their first league meeting for five years, the eagerly anticipated second city derby between Birmingham City and Aston Villa is live on Sky Sports on October 30. Almost a month later on November 20, Newcastle United will make their long-awaited return to Leeds United’s Elland Road.
Wolverhampton Wanderers host Norwich City at the beginning of October before welcoming Derby County to Molineux on November 5 and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s QPR will entertain Brentford at Loftus Road in the West London derby on October 28.
In Sky Bet League One, Charlton Athletic make their first live appearance of the season on November 12 against Swindon Town and following their respective promotions last season, Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon will lock horns at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday October 9.
The list of games selected for live coverage are as follows:
Friday 28th October Queens Park Rangers v Brentford Kick-off 19.45
Saturday 29th October Blackburn Rovers v Wolverhampton Wanderers Kick-off 17.30
Sunday 30th October Birmingham City v Aston Villa Kick-off 12.00
Friday 4th November Brentford v Fulham Kick-off 19.45
Saturday 5th November Wolverhampton Wanderers v Derby County Kick-off 12.30
Saturday 5th November Bristol City v Brighton & Hove Albion Kick-off 17.30
Saturday 12th November Swindon Town v Charlton Athletic Kick-off 12.00
Sunday 13th November Peterborough United v Bolton Wanderers Kick-off 12.15
Sunday 13th November Chesterfield v Sheffield United Kick-off 14.15
Friday 18th November Brighton & Hove Albion v Aston Villa Kick-off 19.45
Saturday 19th November Ipswich Town v Nottingham Forest Kick-off 17.30
Sunday 20th November Leeds United v Newcastle United Kick-off 13.15
Friday 25th November Barnsley v Nottingham Forest Kick-off 19.45
Saturday 26th November Rotherham United v Leeds United Kick-off 17.30
Remaining TV Selection Dates 2016/17 (Illustrative but subject to five-week commitment)
• Clubs notified of selections for December to first week in January 2017 by 30 September;
• Clubs notified of selections for remainder of January by 30 October;
• Clubs notified of selections for February by 30 November;
• Clubs notified of selections for first week in March on Monday 9 January following FA Cup Third
• From 1 February, 2017 a five-week rolling selection commences for matches up to and including the penultimate weekend;
• Clubs notified of selections for the final day made following the completion of the penultimate round of matches.
NB: Dates will be publically announced three working days after being selected.