The clubs made a joint approach to the SPL “expressing their dismay” at the scheduling of the fixture on Sunday, 21 April, with a 4.05pm kick-off. But Saints have been told the game cannot be moved following talks between the league body and Gaelic-language television channel BBC ALBA, which will screen the match live.
In a statement on the Perth club’s website, chairman Steve Brown said: “We don’t think it is fair on the fans of either club to be asked to travel for a game on a Sunday at 4pm and it is hopeless in commercial terms – how can you sell hospitality packages? I understand the requirements of broadcasters but given that the game will be up against Liverpool v Chelsea, I can’t see it being beneficial to BBC ALBA.”
The SPL said there was no other option, pointing out that Sky Sports are screening Celtic’s home game with Inverness at 12.45pm earlier in the day.
The league body told St Johnstone: “They [BBC ALBA] have also explored other slots for the game but are contractually required to avoid Sky Sports and ESPN Scottish Premier League matches (Celtic v Inverness CT is being shown on Sky Sports earlier in the afternoon) and the Uefa Closed Period.”
Uefa’s closed period means games cannot be screened between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday afternoon in order to protect attendances.