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    Kyle Bainbridge: Are matchday programmes the last bastion of the Beautiful Game?

    In the summer, EFL clubs will be asked to vote on whether they would like to scrap match day programmes.

    Some clubs feel that programmes are not generating a decent income due to social media allowing fans to see line-ups, previews of the match & other aspects which you would regularly find in a match day programme.

    But would scrapping match day programmes be a popular vote? Are we losing the last thing that represented the beautiful game?

    Match day programmes have been around since the 1880s but rather than it being a booklet full of information, it was simply a scorecard with team line-ups.

    It wasn't until the 1960s that match day programmes became popular with many people collecting these as a souvenir.

    Today, you can see programmes from as far back as the 1920s being sold for thousands. However, due to paper shortages post war, programmes from this era are very rare to find.

    For some fans though buying these match day programmes is about remembering that day rather than buying them in the hopes that they can sell them on for a profit.

    Some fans even store them away then either pass them down through the generations or show them off to family members.

    Whereas Social Media can give you all the information that you can find in a match day programme for free, to some it isn't the same as getting out that booklet, looking back at it and remembering that day you entered that football stadium, home or away.

    Programmes can be stored away for years to come but having those memories online can be wiped away at any point meaning that you won't get to reminisce that day.

    With match day programmes potentially being on the verge of ceasing to exist, could ticket prices be hiked up to accommodate that extra income to replace the programme sales?

    Ticket prices have caused anger and frustration all over England with many fans feeling they are not getting value for money and experiencing trouble finding the funds to pay.

    In League Two, the lowest tier of the EFL, fans are expected to pay as little as £13 for a single adult.

    Even for a season ticket, they are expected to pay hundreds and in some cases of the top tier season tickets can even cost thousands.

    This has led to the many clubs giving in to customer demands and capping prices, even freezing ticket prices.

    In recent years, we have seen many clubs overtaken by millionaires and billionaires much to the dislike of many fans. Many believe that these ownerships give teams a great advantage by outspending teams that rely heavily on their income.

    In 2003, Roman Abramovich, a Russian Billionaire, Bought Chelsea FC and with his investment spending millions on bringing in players of the highest level, they went from being a mid-table side to title challengers winning multiple trophies.

    Another fine example of investment changing teams fortunes would be Sheikh Mansour who bought Manchester City in 2008, the Citizens were a team that regularly finished mid-table experiencing relegation on several occasions during the Premier League era.

    Since Mansour took over, like Chelsea they spent heavily on talented players which also led to them gaining success, most recently winning the Premier League.

    Wolverhampton Wanderers have most recently won promotion to the Premier League, taken over in 2016 by Fosun International and it soon became clear that they had the finances to out-do the rest of the league by bringing in some players from teams playing in Europe’s elite, most notably Reuben Neves.

    Football, The Beautiful Game. Have we lost the game we all love? It seems that rather than being a sport that is loved by millions, it is slowly turning into a business.

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    MATCH PROGRAMMES

    A number of Clubs had previously asked the EFL if the mandatory publication of a match programme could be addressed as a result of an overall decline in sales and the proliferation of digital and social media, which has the ability to deliver the same content in a more cost effective manner. Mandatory publication of a programme was required due to a number of the EFL’s partnership, sponsorship and opt-in agreements.

    EFL Clubs approved an amendment which allows Clubs to opt out of providing advertising in match programmes on the basis it is replaced with other inventory. This amendment will mean that the requirement to deliver programme advertising in the EFL Regulations will only apply if a match programme is produced. The amended regulation provides each Club with the option to determine whether or not they publish a match programme.

    They'll be gone altogether within 5 years

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