Mansfield Town have switched the kick-off time of their game against Walsall on 15 October from 3pm to 1pm in response to the energy crisis.
The League Two club are the first in the EFL to make such a move. A survey carried out by the football reform group Fair Game over the past fortnight revealed that 63% of 40 clubs polled – including 12 EFL teams – said they would consider earlier kick-offs to help reduce energy bills.
Mansfield said in a statement: “The club is endeavoring to mitigate the forthcoming, considerable increase in energy bills. As part of these efforts, the earlier kick-off time will enable the club to discern whether significant savings can be made on floodlight usage and other energy costs.
“Moreover, following the trial of this change in kick-off time, the club will be able to better determine whether an earlier kick-off on a Saturday would have an affect on prospective attendances.”
Several Mansfield supporters reacted negatively to the club’s tweet, pointing out that they or others would no longer be able to attend and in one case that they had transport booked. On 24 August Mansfield moved their game at home to Hartlepool, scheduled for Saturday 1 October, to a Friday night.
In the Fair Game survey clubs overall rated their concern about the cost-of-living crisis at seven out of 10, rising to more than eight out of 10 among League Two teams. Sixty per cent of the 40 clubs said they were considering halting ground improvement work as a result of the crisis, and 38% said they were preparing to look at their non-playing staff budgets.