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Opinion

As second Premier League live TV matches deadline imminent – Fans inside SJP looks very unlikely

4 weeks ago
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Each season a schedule is released pre-season, detailing when fans can expect to hear of the each set of Premier League live TV matches.

This season, the schedule (see below) showed 28 August 2020 as the date September live games would be released and that date was met.

That was then followed by a later decision, after pressure from Government and fans, that all September PL matches would be shown on live TV, due to no fans allowed inside stadiums.

The next date on the calendar said Premier League live TV matches in October would be announced on 11 September 2020.

That date passed with no news and still 10 days later there hasn’t been a word.

According to the schedule below, we should have expected to hear about Premier League live TV matches in November, on 22 September 2020, which is tomorrow.

The intention / hope of course was that at least some Premier League (and in other divisions) fans would be allowed into games by the start of October.

Even though after reducing trials in September to only 1,000 per sporting venue, the Government have been making encouraging noises about supporters still returning to stadiums in October. However, with the overall virus climate and the way things appear to be heading, it would be pretty astonishing if the Government allowed a significant number of fans back in Premier League grounds in less than two weeks time.

This long delay in announcing the contracted Premier League live TV matches for October, is surely a sign that when the eventual announcement(s) come, it will be a case of all Premier League matches to be shown on live TV in October and for the foreseeable.

The Premier League had been pushing for up to 30% of capacity to be allowed initially but I would be amazed that if fans are indeed allowed in during October, they would allow any more than 10% at the maximum, as a token number of supporters back inside stadiums.

With Newcastle United in particular, Tyneside is part of extra restrictive virus measures at the minute, altogether 20% or so of the country with these and that percentage surely set to increase, with claims that it could become national.

Newcastle United said that they had been making plans for between 10,000 and 15,000 (20% – 30%) to return initially but no way on earth we would see 15,000 inside St James Park for any game in October 2020.

It would be nice to think that some NUFC fans might be back inside for Burnley at home, currently scheduled for Saturday 3 October 2020, but I won’t hold my breath.

Below are the approximate dates for when the announcements on matches that have been selected for live TV broadcast will be made:

September live TV matches – 28 August 2020

October live TV matches – 11 September 2020

November live TV matches – 22 September 2020

December/January live TV matches – 9 October 2020

Dates of announcement for fixtures from February 2021 will be announced in due course.

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