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Government intervene on Premier League live TV games ahead of Thursday’s PL meeting

2 weeks ago
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Friday (28 August) saw the first batch of Premier League live TV games announced for the 2020/21 season.

The announcement detailed which of the 28 matches in September had been chosen.

Altogether, 17 Premier League live TV games had been selected out of 28, of the 11 that hadn’t been chosen they included all three Newcastle matches in September 2020. Whilst certain clubs are seeing all their September matches shown on live TV.

Burnley the only other club not to have a match chosen for live broadcast, although they only have two PL games before we get to October.

The announcements for Premier League live TV games in October are set to be revealed (according to the official PL statement) on Friday 11 September, then the November TV matches to be revealed on Tuesday 22 September.

As things stand, no Newcastle fans in the UK can legally watch live any of their matches so far confirmed, with fans banned from attending games at least until October.

The one concession that the Premier League and broadcasters had made to the virus situation, was to increase from 200 to 220 the number of Premier League live TV games that will be chosen by Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime. That increased the figure to 58% of the 380 Premier League matches to be shown live to UK audiences but still means more than two in every five (42%) won’t be. Whilst so far for Newcastle fans, 100% of their matches haven’t been selected!

There has been anger and frustration from supporters, especially when fans of all EFL clubs have been permitted to watch every match live by broadcasters, with games not selected as their choices being allowed to be streamed to fans at a cost.

The reason given for not allowing the same in the top tier is that it would dilute the interest and demand for the live PL matches shown by broadcasters.

To nobody’s surprise, the Premier League, broadcasters and the 20 clubs collectively, have shown no inclination to listen to the concerns and frustration of supporters.

The situation particularly ironic for Newcastle fans, a takeover seemingly prevented by TV piracy issues and now the Premier League and broadcasters leaving them no alternative but to watch illegal streams of live matches. You literally couldn’t make it up.

However, now the government have belatedly intervened (see below) on the Premier League live TV games issue, saying about the PL and broadcasters: ‘ we urge them to follow the spirit of Project Restart and listen to clubs’ loyal fans and consider what can be achieved in the meantime.’ Referring to the PL matches that will be played before fans are properly / significantly allowed into stadiums once again.

The 20 Premier League clubs meet today and hopefully this issue will be high on the agenda and fingers crossed that as well as this statement, the government have on the quiet made clear that the football authorities HAVE TO change their position on this and declare all games accessible to be watched live by fans.

BBC Sport report:

‘The government has urged the Premier League to consider making more matches available to be shown live while fans are not allowed in stadiums.

Under current plans, 160 of the total 380 top-flight games next season will not be televised, angering some supporters who cannot attend.

All 92 top-flight matches after last season resumed in June following a three-month suspension were shown live.

But there are no plans for that to continue into 2020-21.

Instead, the Premier League has made 220 matches – 20 more than originally planned – available for live TV.

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said:

“Our focus is on working with the football authorities, safety and medical experts to get fans back in stadia as quickly as possible.

“It is for the Premier League and its broadcast partners to come to an agreement on screening matches, however we urge them to follow the spirit of Project Restart and listen to clubs’ loyal fans and consider what can be achieved in the meantime.”

The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) has campaigned for all games to be shown live in the UK.

The organisation said it “welcomes the Government intervention”.

Chief executive of the FSA, Kevin Miles, added: “We all want to get back to games when it’s safe to do so but it’s not in anyone’s interests to have a situation where fans excluded from grounds for reasons of health or Covid-related capacity reductions feel they have no option but to resort to illegal pirate broadcast schemes.”

The Premier League has declined to comment.’

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