(The following is a joint statement issued by Chelsea Supporters Club (CSC) and Chelsea Supporters Group (CSG)
The announcement and confirmation that Chelsea’s Premier League fixture versus Wolverhampton Wanderers will now take place on Christmas Eve is disappointing and frustrating in equal measure.
It once again demonstrates that the concerns of match-going supporters – who were not consulted about this decision – are considered secondary to those of a global football audience but, beyond that, it also reflects a complete lack of awareness and concern for thousands of matchday staff and personnel who will now be required to work on a day where many families celebrate during the festive season.
The Premier League will not be alone in arranging fixtures on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, both within football and in other sports. The wider issue here is that the arrangement has been confirmed just 60 days before the event which, to say nothing of enforcing late changes of circumstance on a great many people, also poses significant travel problems for those affected.
Many transport operators offer a scaled down or skeleton timetable over the Christmas period, including early timetable finishes on Christmas Eve, and indeed there are currently just two direct services from Wolverhampton to London available after this fixture.
The cost of living crisis continues to affect us all, and increasing the demands on loyal fans from both Wolves and Chelsea at a time of year that provides additional challenges is and should have been avoidable. The Premier League has not held a fixture on this date for 28 years; why does it need to do so now?
We will continue to discuss these matters with Chelsea and the Premier League in hope of striking a better balance moving forward.