Response to fixture carnage fears amid new £935m Sky Sports TV deal for likes of Portsmouth, Sunderland, Leeds United and Norwich City faithfuls

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Andy Cullen has allayed fears over disruption the new bumper £935m Sky Sports TV deal will bring to supporters.

The Pompey chief executive is confident the new extensive notice periods over fixtures being moved will avoid fans being hit in the pocket, as part of the huge new agreement with the EFL.

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The arrival of Sky Sport+ was confirmed last month, with over 1,000 EFL games showed each season, featuring every Championship club at least 24 times in the 2024-25 campaign.

The new deal will see five matches shown at 12.30pm each Saturday, along with frequent Friday night and Sunday lunchtime games screened.

It’s set to make a huge difference to Pompey as they step up to the Championship, with the domestic TV deal worth £5.7m to them in addition to income from the overseas and highlights packages.

It does mean more games shifted from the traditional 3pm slot on a Saturday, while there is the prospect of some potentially long away days for Pompey in the Championship starting in the early hours for lunchtime games.

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Cullen explained, however, safeguards have now been put in place to ensure lengthy notice periods - beginning from when the fixtures are announced on June 26.

He said: ‘Obviously there’s a lot of headline figures about so many more games going on to Sky.

‘I think sometimes that’s taken a little bit out of context, because last season all the mid-week games in the Championship were on the Sky red button.

‘While all of these extra mid-week games are available, they were available in League One as well in terms of iFollow.

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‘What we will see is a shift in some of the kick-off times with a broader number of games and the vast majority of broadcast games being in the Championship.

‘So naturally there will be more movement of fixtures, but that would be the same for any Championship team.

‘There are some good things in place to recognise the inconvenience that causes clubs - and most importantly supporters in terms of having longer notice.

‘So by the time the fixtures are published at the end of June, we will know the fixtures up to the end of August or start of September.

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‘Certainly by the end of July we will know all the fixtures up to the start of January.

‘So instead of four weeks’ notice there will be four months’ notice.

‘By the end of autumn around September or October, we will know all the fixtures until the beginning of March.

‘So it allows everyone to plan a little bit, particularly in terms of away travel.

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‘People aren’t finding out at four weeks’ notice after booking a train ticket or arranging a hotel, that the fixture has moved.

‘They’re not finding out it’s moved from Saturday to a Friday evening or a Saturday 12.30pm from a 3pm kick-off.

‘So there will be movement next season, but the notice periods will be much greater.’

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