‘It’s about money NOT about the fans… we should know this by now!’: Premier League fans left furious as clubs price themselves out of deal to put every match on TV… leaving 160 games ‘you can watch everywhere but the UK’
- Top flight clubs have priced themselves out of a deal to all matches televised live
- The deal would have been in place until the Government allowed fans to return
- Fans have reacted angrily to the news they may have no way to watch their team
Fans of Premier League clubs have reacted angrily to news that 160 matches will not be broadcast in the UK this season, potentially leaving supporters with no way of following their team.
It is expected that a reduced number of fans may be able to return to games in-person from October but clubs will be expected to operate a significantly smaller capacity as football adapts to demands thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic and so many will still be reliant on television coverage.
Of 380 Premier League fixtures, 220 will be broadcast live on TV, 20 more than last season but fans feel teams and the league are ‘cutting their nose off to spite their face’ in not broadcasting every match while fans cannot attend as normal.
Premier League fans have voiced their anger after it emerged there would be 160 matches in the 2020-21 season that would not be broadcast live on TV for supporters in the UK
The decision angered fans as they remain kept out of stadiums due to Covid-19 pandemic
20 more matches will be broadcast compared to last season but Sportsmail understands there was interest from broadcasters in showing more matches, as they did to finish this season
Sportsmail understands there was interest from the broadcasters in showing even more games, as they did during Project Restart.
However, during initial talks the clubs made it clear that they would demand additional rights fees for the privilege so the negotiations never got off the ground.
Speaking to the BBC, Katrina Law of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust raised her concerns going forward into 2020-21.
She said: ‘I think there is a misconception among fans that they will be able to watch their team like they did in Project Restart.
The upcoming season will begin on September 12 with fans remaining away from stadiums
The decision between the clubs and the league was described as ‘pathetic’ by one supporter
Another felt it made sense to allow clubs to ‘stream their own games’ so fans could still follow
‘We definitely think there should be some provision for match-going fans because of a public-health emergency.’
The Premier League and English Football League (EFL) 2020-21 seasons get underway on September 12, starting up still behind closed doors.
But after Sportsmail exclusively revealed news that negotiations had failed before they even got off the ground to show every game as they did following Project Restart, UK-based fans were left furious.
One irate supporter tweeted: ‘It’s about money not about the fans. We should know this by now!’
‘If fans can’t even watch games next season, then f*** it off,’ another fan wrote. ‘Pathetic again from the Premier League.’
Questioning the benefits for the league, one fan added: ‘160 PL games next season, either behind closed doors or with highly reduced capacity, won’t be available to watch anywhere in the UK! This leaves fans with the choice to either access an illegal stream or miss it entirely, surely the @premierleague doesn’t want this…’
The notion of fans accepting they have no way of following matches was ridiculed online
It is expected a small number of fans may be allowed to return to matches from October
During Project Restart the Premier League bowed to pressure from the Government to make live games more widely available by gifting four matches to the BBC, despite the fact they did not have any live rights, while others were shown on Sky’s free-to-air channel, Sky Pick.
But moving forward there will be no matches televised at 3pm on Saturday afternoons, despite UEFA removing broadcasting restrictions by suspending Article 48 during lockdown.
‘Whatever your view on this, it’s very short-sighted of the Premier League and TV companies,’ one fan conceded.
‘Do they think match going fans are just going to say “Oh ok, I can’t watch most games this year, I’ll do some shopping instead?” No. And they’ll lose a bit more goodwill.’
The Scottish Premiership reached an agreement to offer a virtual season ticket in partnership with Sky Sports but that does not appear to be the plan for Premier League sides.
In Scotland, supporters could purchase a virtual season ticket but that does not appear to be an option for fans of Premier League teams ahead of the 2020-21 campaign