Scottish clubs allowed to change kick-off times this winter to help with energy crisis
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As the price of electricity continues to rise, clubs across the Scottish Professional Football League face rising bills and floodlights are one of the most expensive factors. Energy bills are expected to triple this season and the cost of operating floodlights alone could rise by up to £100,000. However, the governing body are willing to help.
Clubs are entitled to apply for an earlier kick-off time if they wish, an option some will consider as the clock change approaches. The United Kingdom reverts to Greenwich Mean Time at 2am on Sunday, October 30, meaning clocks go back one hour and darkness will descend earlier in the day.
The SPFL are open to switching kick-off times at any point in the season provided both clubs agree and there is no impact on live television broadcasts. Matches starting earlier in the afternoon could avoid the use of floodlights during winter months and therefore save clubs a considerable amount of money.
Travelling times for supporters must also be taken into consideration if any alteration is made. Fans are often asked to attend matches starting outwith the traditional Saturday 3pm timeslot to accommodate live television, so more early kick-offs will not necessarily suit everyone.
Darker and overcast weather may still require the use of floodlights for visual reasons, but the SPFL won’t stop clubs in Scotland exploring the possibility of different kick-off times. As businesses, their energy bills are not controlled by a price cap and the financial cost of a long winter will hit some teams hard.
Clubs across the country are planning budgets accordingly to cope with the demands of increased winter fuel prices.