The kick off date and time for the European knockout fixture is a result of TV scheduling, the preferential treatment of Heineken Cup fixtures and the restrictions associated with sharing a ground with a club in the Football League.
Wycombe Wanderers have a scheduled fixture against Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday 5 April. As a result of the Football League’s regulations, the Wasps fixture cannot be played on Friday 4 April. Therefore, the Club were only able to give the option of Sunday 6 April for the fixture.
The kick off time is then dependent on SKY’s scheduling. With eight matches to be decided from Thursday through to Sunday, it was necessary to schedule three for the Saturday and three for the Sunday.
Of the three fixtures on the Sunday, preference is given to the Heineken Cup game between Toulon and Leinster (KO 17:30), which is given the prime slot on Sunday. The two remaining fixtures, Bath v Brive and Wasps v Gloucester, must fall either side of that fixture. The decision as to which game is played before and which is played after then lies with SKY. SKY’s decision was to play the Bath v Brive game (KO 14:00), which is a replay of the 1998 Heineken Cup Final, before and the Wasps v Gloucester game (19:00) after.
All parties involved understand that the kick off time may cause frustration with some fans, especially those planning to travel a distance or who have to be up early on Monday but, due to all of the factors involved, the kick off time of 19:00 is the only feasible option.