The 2020/21 Premier League fixture list has been released, with the season kicking off on September 12th. As with the...
Victim of the Weather
This weekend, parents of young amateur footballers will have been anxiously awaiting the inevitable phone call or text from their kids’ clubs informing them that their matches were called off after the arrival of Storm Ciara. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t take particularly extreme weather conditions for the pitch of a local recreation ground to become unplayable.
But in the Premier League, postponements are unusual occurrences, and yesterday’s fixture between Manchester City and West Ham was the first game to be cancelled because of weather since February 2014, when strong winds put paid to games at Goodison Park and the Etihad (again).
The reasons for these cancellations are primarily for the safety of the tens of thousands of supporters attending the matches rather than because the game itself would be affected, as modern stadia are more than capable of repelling inclement weather.
You don’t have to be particularly long in the tooth to recall the days when the groundsman would be out with his shovel clearing snow off the lines on the pitch in preparation for kick off, and the rare and wondrous sight of an orange football would bring cheer to the assembled crowd. Nowadays the coloured ball is a staple of the Premier League during the winter months, and the idea of snow or ice on a pitch is almost unheard of due to the advancements in under-pitch heating; Old Trafford for example has over 18 miles of undersoil heating beneath the playing surface. In the top two tiers of the German league it is mandatory for clubs to have this in place, although admittedly the extremes of weather are much greater on the European mainland.
The financial impact of having to call off a game is of course the real driver in terms of its rarity. The preparation for staging a match starts well before the day itself, with tickets and matchday programmes being printed, the restaurants and bars being stocked and the stadium being prepared. The impact is expensive and wasteful, but the safety of the crowd is the paramount concern. It also brings with it the inconvenience of finding a date to stage the rearranged fixture. For Manchester City, the extra fixture will inevitably come at a time when they are thinking about the Champions League, and for West Ham a congested run of games when they are fighting for Premier League survival is not helpful.
So what will the impact be? You can see for yourself by attending any of the remaining games at the Etihad or The London Stadium in fantastic hospitality. Visit www.vipfootballhospitality,com or give us a call on 01454 201210.
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