By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The English Premier League Clubs have voted 19-1 (Leicester City FC dissenting) in favour of the following interim arrangements for the live broadcasts of their matches, after the allowance of the partial return of fans to football stadia, as from 1 October 2020, has been postponed by the UK Government, due to increases in COVID-19 infections in the UK.
The five fixtures per round not chosen to be shown live on ‘free-to-air’ television will now be available on BT Sport Box Office or Sky Sports Box Office at a price of £14.95.
These arrangements, the Clubs claim, have been made to permit the fans to continue watching their teams live.
However, they have not gone down well with football supporters. In fact, the Football Supporters’ Association has urged broadcasters to reconsider their pricing.
The arrangements have also drawn criticism from the UK Government.
Particularly as they come at a time when the Clubs have spent more than £1 billion on new players; received Government loans; furloughed staff and made others redundant; and also when fans are suffering the continuing economic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The English Premier League has stated that the League and the Clubs “remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible.”
Although the most popular football league in the world, the English Premier League is not enjoying, at the moment at least, a very good press!