Church leaders in Birmingham have accused the Premier League of showing disdain for religious traditions by staging fixtures on Easter Sunday.
In open letters sent to the league and to Aston Villa, two church groups also called on politicians to ban future matches on Easter Day.
One of the organisations, which represents clergy based near Villa's home ground, said this week's match between the club and Everton would cause "chaos" for those visiting local churches.
In its letter, Aston Churches Working Together, which represents nine local churches, questioned why the 1994 Sunday Trading Act allowed the match, which is being televised by Setanta Sports, to go ahead while ensuring that supermarkets and other major traders remained shut.
Signed by the Anglican Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, the letter claimed that a previous match played in Birmingham on Easter Day had prevented worshippers reaching and leaving church, and deterred older people and those with disabilities from attending.
The letter stressed that Christian communities around football grounds had learned how to work around the regular scheduling of matches on Sundays, and added: "We understand that Sunday is now a work day for many people. However, Easter Sunday is different... only Christmas Day is treated in the same fashion.
"By scheduling matches on Easter Sunday, the Premier League is treating it like any other day."
Meanwhile, Birmingham Churches Together, which includes the Bishop of Birmingham and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the city, said it shared the distress of the Aston churches.
In their letter, which has been sent to the chief executive of the Premier League and officials at Setanta Sports, the church leaders said the staging of Sunday's fixture showed a disregard for the importance of Easter Sunday.
"In rearranging this fixture in this manner, you show disdain for the religious traditions of this country, and the sensitivities of many employees and football supporters," they said.