Kick-off time of Spanish football matches to be changed next season

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Madrid, Feb 16 (IANS) Domestic matches of Spanish football could see some big changes in the 2016-17 season, Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) president Javier Tebas said on Tuesday.

Tebas said the LFP were considering extending the range of kick-off times to include an afternoon start on Saturday fixtures in order to compete with the English Premier League, as well as changes in the format of the King’s Cup knockout competition, reports Xinhua.

“Possibly next year we will have games at 13:00 on Saturday,” said Tebas.

The move will be targeted to attract prime time viewers in the Middle-East and Asia.

Spain currently sees virtually every game kick-off at a different time, with the first game played on Friday night and the last on Mondays.

It makes it possible for TV viewers to watch every match if they so desire.

But the constantly changing kick-off times have affected season ticket sales as fans of the league’s smaller clubs sees starting times of their matches shifted consistently.

However, Tebas said the stadium-visiting fans were of secondary importance as he was “convinced” that within five years “we will earn more money from foreign TV rights than for domestic rights.”

Tebas said he was also in favour of changing the format of the Cup, which is currently played over two legs, to a single leg affair to lessen fixtures congestion.

It could mean small sides would get fewer chances of beating bigger clubs.

“The Cup is losing interest and we have to look at ways of reinventing the competition,” said Tebas.

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