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OPINION: Aston Villa Are Right To Not Play Reading FC On Good Friday

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Bucks' take on a topic of interest this Easter weekend.

Bebo Founder Invests Millions In Devon Village Of Woolsery Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

If you'd glanced at the fixtures list for the Easter weekend, you'd be forgiven for wondering why Aston Villa vs Reading is the only Championship game taking place on the Saturday. Excluding this fixture, every single team in the division plays twice over the next few days: on Good Friday and Easter Monday, giving them the standard three days' rest.

To be clear, no side had to play on Good Friday, but because of the daytime games on Easter Monday (and the Friday also being a bank holiday), everyone had the option of an extra 24 hours' rest.

However, Aston parish church - a stone's throw away from Villa Park, requested that the Villans play on Saturday so that there would be no clash with an Easter service running from 12pm until 3pm that day. Because the church is so close to the stadium, they've had trouble in the past due to general disruption.

Indeed, that church has a history of festive trouble, with Rev. Keith Sinclair ringing the church's bells for the duration of an Easter Sunday match with Chelsea in 1999. But, luckily for the churchgoers, they had no need for a similar protest this year as Aston Villa accepted their request.

That was the right decision

Not to go too deeply into the theology of the issue, but Good Friday is one of the most significant days in the Christian calendar. Jesus dying on the cross for everyone's sins (on Good Friday) is a cornerstone of the faith on the whole.

Therefore, playing a football game on such an important day makes things difficult for fans who are also practising Christians. With a lot of people attending a Walk of Witness (carrying a big wooden cross in the same way Jesus did) and a church service, getting to a game afterwards isn't practical.

In light of all that, is it really right to make those fans choose between two things that are really important for them?

Let's be honest here - games are being played on Friday and Monday this weekend to maximise television revenue, whilst still giving teams three days of recuperation.

Having a four day weekend over Easter may therefore be very convenient for the powers that be, but it completely ignores the whole point of Easter.

A better idea

I'm not saying 'ban all football games from being played on Good Friday' - that would be silly. In the Championship, we already regularly have evening games on Friday nights, so doing the same thing at Easter wouldn't be much of a problem.

Why not, at this time of the year, keep the bulk of the football on Saturday afternoons, and push the Bank Holiday Monday games back to Tuesday evening? Something worth considering, surely?

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter @TheTilehurstEnd.