The major Premier League change that could prove a nightmare for Newcastle United and Man Utd fans

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The Premier League are considering a change to their weekly broadcast schedule by adding more matches on Sunday afternoons.

Tell me you’ve never tried to get back to Newcastle from London late on a Sunday night without telling him you’ve never had to get back to Newcastle from London late on a Sunday night. At the time of writing there are but a handful of northbound trains that leave Kings Cross after, say, 9pm - and the vast majority don’t make it to the north east until a point at which most people are rising glumly for their Monday morning commute. Still, at least you can pick up a Greggs at the other end.

The reason I bring any of this up is not for the sake of grinding axes about the woeful state of the British rail network - please don’t get me started - but rather because a new report from The Telegraph suggests that the Premier League is seriously considering the possibility of introducing a regular 6.30pm Sunday evening kick-off time to its weekly schedule.

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In a bid for omnipresence that brings to mind Poochie from that one Itchy-and-Scratchy-centric episode of The Simpsons (whenever the Premier League isn’t on screen, all the other sporting events should be asking ‘where’s the Premier League?’ etc, etc.) the governing body is said to weighing up the prospect of adding a further two fixtures to its Sunday broadcast regime - one at noon and one, as mentioned above, to do battle with Countryfile. Watch your back, Baker!

Now, make no mistake, there are positives to the Premier League’s proposal. For one thing, it is claimed that they would end up televising around 25% more matches as a result of the move, which, given the frankly shocking lack of live coverage the top flight currently receives, would be welcomed. It’s bad crack when you can watch more English matches on the screen live in Cambodia than Cambridge.

It is also suggested that as a consequence of fewer Premier League fixtures taking place at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon, greater emphasis would be placed on Championship and WSL football. Again, good; these are leagues that fully deserve to have as many eyeballs as possible frequently fixed on them.

But surely there is a better way, and one that doesn’t callously shaft thousands of match-going fans for the sake of appeasing the fickle Sky Sports gods.

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Over in mainland Europe, the French, Spanish, German, and Italian top flights don’t bother with a period of broadcasting blackout comparable to the one we are subjected to in England every weekend. What’s more, there has been sufficient evidence gathered to prove that such closed spells do not affect the outcome of lower league match attendance one way or another, and the demand for Premier League tickets is so significant that their gates (and coffers) will presumably remain brimming until the inevitable heat death of the universe.

Why, then, not trial the decent thing for once? Keep kick-off times predominantly as they are, but lift the Saturday afternoon blackout in the Premier League. More fans get to watch, more television revenue is generated for those who care about such things, EFL attendances remain generally unscathed, and for the purposes of this particular article, nobody has to spend the early hours of a Monday morning kipping on the floor of York train station.

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