English League Two football club Mansfield Town has announced that its home match against Walsall on October 15 will kick off at the earlier time of 1pm in a move designed to mitigate the upcoming increase in energy bills.
The match had been due to begin at 3pm but Mansfield hopes the earlier kick-off time will enable the club to discern whether “significant savings” can be made on floodlight usage and other energy costs.
Mansfield also said that trialling an earlier kick-off time would allow the club to determine whether it has an impact on prospective attendances. Mansfield is the first EFL club to announce an earlier kick-off time in response to the energy crisis.
A recent survey carried out by football reform group Fair Game found that 63% of the 40 clubs polled would consider lunchtime kick-offs for weekend league matches to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
Of the clubs that took part in the survey, one is in the Championship, five are in League One and six are in League Two, with the remaining clubs either in the National League, National League North, National League South, or further down the pyramid. Fifty seven per cent of clubs said they were keen to explore a joint deal to supply renewable energy.
Earlier this month, the Scottish Football Association 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.