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Industry News

Scottish FA open to early kick-off times to reduce energy costs

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The Scottish Football Association has told clubs participating in the Scottish Cup this season that they can schedule earlier kick-off times to help reduce their energy bills amid the current cost-of-living crisis.

The Scottish FA board is keen to help clubs guard against the impact of rising energy costs, with earlier kick-off times potentially leading to reduced match-day costs such as floodlighting and heating.

Both competing clubs would have to agree to earlier kick-off times but the Scottish FA has reiterated to teams that rescheduling matches will be possible.

Clubs competing in the first round of the Scottish Cup would also be given the option of streaming any non-televised matches scheduled to kick off prior to the traditional blocked-hours period of 2.45pm to 5.15pm on a Saturday. Discussions are ongoing with broadcast partners around clubs streaming matches in later rounds.

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “We are cognisant that the effects of the current cost-of-living crisis are being felt by Scottish football clubs and we are committed to exploring methods that could help mitigate the effects of the crisis within Scottish football.

“This logical step to help reduce match-day costs is just one avenue in which the Scottish FA will look to support clubs throughout this challenging period and we welcome further discussion on ways to help alleviate the increase in costs that could be incurred over the coming months.”

Earlier this week, the executive committee of the German Football League (DFL) recommended that clubs in the top two divisions set an individual energy saving target of 15 to 20% during the 2022-23 season.

The DFL said that Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs are already dedicating themselves to the initiative, which is designed to tackle the energy crisis in Germany.

Last week, Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top division of Italian club football, revealed its own plans to aid efforts to tackle the energy crisis.

Efforts started with last weekend’s games, with stadium lighting across venues restricted to a maximum of four hours of use per match.

In addition, for matches starting between 12.30pm and 6pm, the time necessary to calibrate the equipment necessary to support video assistant referees (VAR) and goal-line technology (GLT) will be reduced from 90 minutes to 60 minutes before a game. In this way, the Lega claims Serie A stadia will have a reduction in lighting time of about 25%.

Image: Martin Le Roy/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size

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