Derby is to avoid football

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The Independent Online
The management at Epsom have decided against testing the popularity of the Derby against the opening match of the England football team in next year's European Championship and will stage the premier Classic at 2.25pm, before the match with Switzerland starts.

The course executive has come under pressure to revert to a Wednesday date for the Derby as last year's race failed to attract the crowds or betting turnover it had enjoyed when the centre of sporting attention in a midweek slot. Last year, run on a Saturday, it coincided with an England rugby match.

Edward Gillespie, managing director of United Racecourses, said: "Saturday, 8 June 1996 will be an outstanding day for English sport and we feel it is important that as many of the country's sports fans as possible have the chance to watch or listen to both the European Championship and Vodafone Derby without interruption.

"This is the second year that the race has been staged on a Saturday in recognition of the changing trends in the leisure market. We will further review that change after the 1996 Derby meeting, but in the light of encouraging advance bookings for boxes and badges, the signs are that the move to Saturday is considerably enhancing the popular appeal of the Derby."

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