Issue FL and UEFA going head to head for the Play Off Final date

As told by Michael Wood

Should Bradford City reach the play-off finals next season – and we all hope for more but fear less – then City fans would be advised to get in and out early to avoid the congestion that comes with having two games in the same stadium on the same day.

It seems hard to believe that the League Two final – which City’s site tells us scheduled to take place at Wembley on Saturday 28th May – be played in the afternoon while a trip to UEFA’s website tells us the highlight of European football’s club calendar returns to the London venue for a record sixth time, the first at the new stadium, on Saturday 28 May.

Play off finals tend to be in the afternoon kicking off at three but – after the traditional playing of “Simply The Best” to the team that finishes between 72nd and 75th in the football pyramid – the event does not finish until 17:30 at the earliest and probably somewhat later. The Champions League final would look to kick off at 20:00 with gates open perhaps an hour earlier giving some dervishes about ninety minutes to turn around from one game to another.

Putting aside the lunacy that would see the National Cabbage Patch used twice in one day – the logistics would be impossible surely – it would seem that the stadium is has been promised to two parties on the same say and The Football League are not budging on the play-off date simply to accommodate the Champions League finals switch to a Saturday night.

The Football League are one of Wembley Stadium’s biggest customers staging the three play off finals and the League Cup final at the venue which famously went over budget and one doubts could afford to lose the custom back to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. UEFA are not likely to want to move the game they see as the biggest in football to avoid the prospect of a clash with the clash between Aldershot and Burton Albion or whoever ends up at the final.

Wembley would seem to be caught between the prospect of upsetting UEFA – never good when chasing a World Cup 2018 bid – or alienating The Football League and risking the loss of their business.

City fans have sometime to thing about this and – should Taylor’s men excel or flop – it may never be an issue but as it stands it would seem that Wembley Stadium is double booked and either the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United are going to have to shift for City and Stockport or Stockport and City are going to dig in and tell the giants of European football that we got there first.

Either way the merits of the Football League publishing a list of dates for the forthcoming season when they have an obvious problem with one of those dates is annoying to say the least and any City fan considering booking a holiday for the 29th on the understanding that there is no chance of missing the big game would do well to hold off until one of these two football authorities blinks or the concerns of supporters start to feature in their thoughts.