The fixtures for the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals have been revealed and there is a glaring fault with the scheduling.
In what is usually a veritable feast of top drawer European rugby with four matches played over the one weekend, fans have been put into a position where they can only watch two of the three matches scheduled on the Saturday live due to a fixtures clash.
Exeter Chiefs host Northampton Saints on April 4 at 15:15 to kick the quarter-finals weekend off, but Clermont’s contest with Racing 92 at the Stade Marcel Michelin will start at the same time (16:15 French time).
The mouth-watering affair between last season’s finalists Leinster and Saracens at the Aviva Stadium then begins at 17:45.
Viewers are in a position where there is absolutely no way to watch all three matches live due to the clash. This is new territory as such scheduling has never been made before.
Either matches straddled the Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the past, or kick-offs have been earlier on the Saturday if there were three matches on the same day.
Your biggest weekend of the year and you have games overlapping. The mind boggles.
— Zippy (@Zipperelda) January 24, 2020
Pathetic organisation to have two quarter-finals kicking off at the same time.
— Eric Fitzgerald (@mrericfitz) January 24, 2020
@ChampionsCup admit the collosal mistake and reorganise these kickoffs, absolutely ridiculous to have 2 European quarter finals starting at the same time.
— Bobby Jones (@buddy19782002) January 24, 2020
As expected, this has been met with utter disbelief by fans, as the decision to deprive them of watching all four matches live seems bizarre.
While we do live in an age of catch-up TV, it will be hard for devoted fans to avoid the result of a match they have been forced to forgo watching live.
Seriously???? How stupid are ya lads? Two QF’s on the same time???
— David (@davidwmbarrett) January 24, 2020
But… two matches at the same time? What a waste! ?
— Drew68 (@Sinaloa_Cowboys) January 24, 2020
— Maddal (@Maddal7) January 24, 2020
Three thrillers on Saturday, one of which will be unwatchable because of scheduling, and a super Sunday that is comprised of one match?
Why make it so hard for people to enjoy your product?
— Linebreak Rugby ? (@LinebreakRugby) January 24, 2020
There have consequently been calls for a change of schedule to overcome this problem, particularly given the calibre of all matches on offer.
Even though there is no such problem on the Sunday, there have still been complaints that the match between the two teams furthest apart from one another starts so late.
Toulouse host Ulster at Le Stadium, home of Toulouse Football Club, at 15:15 (16:15 local time) which is tough on those fans travelling from Ireland on a Sunday.
While this may be the age of outrage, fans are completely justified in this situation.
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