Germany coach Joachim Loew said Wednesday that late kick-off times for international matches are damaging the future of the sport and he wants to see a return to afternoon starts.
International matches here currently start at 20.45 so national broadcaster ZDF can take advantage of higher ratings, but Loew says the late starts prevent children from watching their heroes, which will damage the sport in the long term.
“I would welcome it if the international matches began at an earlier time like they used to,” said Loew, whose Germany side face Azerbaijan in a World Cup qualifier in Hanover on Wednesday.
“All fans must have the right to see international matches. But the impact of 20.45 kick-off times is that they are much too late for children.”
But German Football Federation (DFB) secretary-general Wolfgang Niersbach defended the late kick-off times.
“It is important for us that as many fans as possible can watch international matches on the television,” he said, also adding that the television money kept the price of tickets down.
“According to data from the television companies, more spectators watch evening games than they used to when the kick-off times were in the afternoon.”
A spokesman for ZDF, who broadcast the games here, said they had no objection to an earlier kick-off time.