Football club calls for earlier kick-off to save money of energy bills

ENERGY CRISIS: Didcot Town Football Club calls for earlier kick-off to save money on energy bills. Picture by Didcot Town Football Club
ENERGY CRISIS: Didcot Town Football Club calls for earlier kick-off to save money on energy bills. Picture by Didcot Town Football Club

A FOOTBALL club has urged for earlier kick-off times throughout winter due to fears over rising energy bills.

Didcot Town Football Club, which play at Loop Meadow Stadium in Bowmont Water, say their energy bill is expected to go up each month by £4,200 from £1,250 to £5,450.

The club has written an open letter to the Southern League, which they play in, asking to have the option to kick off earlier than 3pm so they do not have to use the floodlights.

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It said not having to use the floodlights could reduce its outgoings by 30 per cent.

In the open letter, the club's chair John Bailey and its vice chair, Paul Chalk, said floodlights were "widely understood to be the largest contributor to energy usage for all football teams".

Picture by Didcot Town Football Club

It said: “Didcot Town FC is one of a growing number of clubs that are becoming increasingly concerned with the impact of the unprecedented energy crisis will have on both the its ability to operate or even be a viable concern within 18 months.

“I’m sure that the Southern League is wholly aware of the situation, and indeed may also have similar concerns for their associated club.

“So our question is, quite simply, does the Southern League have any strategy in place to support clubs that will without doubt find themselves in crisis with this coming season?

“The decision to abandon the League Cup for this season was a wise one to take, but is only part of a wider situation all clubs find themselves in.”

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The letter continues to say the rising energy costs are “categorically unsustainable” for a club of Didcot’s size and suggests an earlier kick off, negating the use of necessity of floodlights, would help.

Picture by Didcot Town Football Club

It adds: “With this one simple action, Didcot Town could reduce its outgoings by 30 per cent, which goes some way to mitigating the inherent energy rise, and at least contribute to making the future Club existence more achievable and sustainable thereafter.

“Please can you urgently consider this option as the first steps in what will be an ongoing battle for sustainability and ultimately the integrity of the Leagues going forwards.”

Mansfield Town have already brought forward their kick-off for next month’s home Sky Bet League Two game against Walsall in a bid to tackle escalating energy costs.

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The fixture was originally scheduled for 3pm but will now kick off at 1pm as the Stags bid “to mitigate the forthcoming, considerable increase in energy bills”.

A total of 63 per cent of 40 clubs, including 12 EFL teams, would also consider earlier kick-offs for weekend league and FA Cup matches to reduce energy bills if they were given permission.

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Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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