x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Pro League attendances will rise with better scheduling

Al Jazira have the right idea by scheduling home games on a Friday night to avoid clashing with the Premier League.

The English Premier League has its faults, not least the level of debt leveraged on its 20 clubs and that just about anyone can pass the league's fit and proper person's test to own or be a director of a club.

But their marketing of the product has been impeccable and has been translated into packed stadiums and a worldwide audience of 4.7 billion.

The Football Association, who now govern the Pro League, would settle for packed stadiums right now and they should have been falling over themselves to have met with the Premier League chairman and the Bolton Wanderers chairman and pick their brains during their recent visit to Sharjah.

However they should not need Dave Richards and Phil Gartside to tell them how important the scheduling of the games is in attracting spectators.

Al Jazira have the right idea, scheduling home games on a Friday night to avoid clashing with the televised Premier League and Primera Liga games on a Saturday.

They are realistic enough to know their diehard fans, let alone the casual spectator, will find it difficult to travel to the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium if, say, Manchester City kick-off at the same time and you can watch Barcelona without leaving home.

I mean, how many fans did the FA seriously expect to turn up at Baniyas, of all places, in the mid-September heat for the Etisalat Super Cup match between Al Wahda and Al Jazira when City were playing on Abu Dhabi Sports.

They should spend more time on the scheduling and less time squabbling over the name of the league.

kaffleck@thenational.ae


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