Mansfield Town: Club prioritize kick-off time over energy costs

MANSFIELD, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Forest Green Rovers' Kane Wilson crosses the ball as night falls during the Sky Bet League Two game between Mansfield Town and Forest Green Rovers at One Call Stadium on March 23, 2021 in Mansfield, England. Sports stadiums across the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic as state social distancing laws ban fans in venues, resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Mansfield Town hopes to cut costs with fewer floodlights (Image: Getty Images Europe)

A lower division soccer team says rising energy prices have forced them to bring forward the kick-off time of a game next month.

Mansfield Town’s League 2 game against Walsall will now start at 1pm instead of 3pm in an apparent attempt to save money on floodlighting costs.

It is hoped earlier start times will allow the club to pay less for energy as the afternoons grow colder and darker – with Saturday 15 October’s game serving as a rehearsal.

The move comes with many clubs in the English The Football League (EFL) is struggling financially – although the government has announced an aid package for businesses facing rising energy costs, including football clubs.

It’s unclear if many other clubs will follow The Stags’ lead.

But there are fears that amidst the livelihood crisis with rapidly falling disposable incomes, community clubs will be hit by the twin burdens of lower gate fees and rising costs.

In a statement yesterday, the club said: “Mansfield Town’s Sky Bet League Two home game against Walsall on Saturday 15 October will now kick off early at 1pm.

“The game was originally supposed to start at 3 p.m.

Mansfield moves the game to 1pm to cope with rising costs

The club had previously moved a Saturday afternoon game to a Friday night (Image: Mansfield Town)

‘The Club is striving to mitigate the impending significant increase in energy bills.

‘As part of this effort, the earlier kick-off time will allow the club to see if significant savings can be made on floodlighting and other energy costs.’

However, some Stags fans were unimpressed by the move.

Taking to Twitter, Benedict Mason responded to the news by writing: “I don’t see why you would do that while at the same time moving the Hartlepool game from a Saturday to a Friday night where the floodlights have to be used for the entire game?” ‘

This game will now kick off next Friday at 7.45pm instead of the following Saturday afternoon. the club announced last month.

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After the latest schedule change, fan Peter Hrycaj took to social media to say: ‘What about people who work Saturday mornings? Are they taken into account?’

Andy Squire called the move “a bad decision” and suggested it could result in the loss of at least 1,500 fans who attended the game.

‘Owen’ wrote: ‘Already booked my trains. Ridiculous,” while others highlighted how the move could affect fans’ pre-arranged plans for Saturday morning.

The EFL plans to continue engaging with clubs on the impact of rising energy costs and the issue will be discussed at a next meeting, according to Metro.co.uk.

However, earlier kick-off times bring other problems, particularly in terms of away supporters’ travel and attendance figures.

Wintry weather could also force clubs to use their floodlights later in the year and into early 2023 regardless of kick-off time.

Clubs may agree earlier kick-off times for their matches, in accordance with the applicable rules.

Mansfield’s statement added: “Furthermore, after testing this change in kick-off time, the club will be better able to assess whether an earlier kick-off on a Saturday would have any impact on expected attendances.”

Walsall FC said the kick-off move had been agreed but did not comment further.

The EFL declined to comment when contacted by Metro.co.uk.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/09/23/mansfield-town-club-brings-forward-kick-off-time-over-energy-costs-17439748/ Mansfield Town: Club prioritize kick-off time over energy costs

Justin Scacco

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