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Premier League clubs vote backs fans for all games on live TV – Talks now with broadcasters

3 weeks ago
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The 20 Premier League clubs held their latest meeting on Thursday, only nine days ahead of the new season.

News broke later yesterday that the clubs had blocked another attempt by the most powerful (entitled) to be allowed to use five substitutes in matches in the 2020/21 season.

This had already been voted down previously by the Premier League clubs but certain clubs had the nerve to try it on again, The Mail confirming that it was once again voted down but revealing that the divide was only 11 v 9.

Of more interest to supporters, especially Newcastle fans, was what happened when the 20 Premier League clubs debated the issue of live TV matches in the coming season.

As things stand, the broadcasters (Sky, BT, Amazon) are going to show live in the UK 220 of the 380 Premier League matches. However, that of course means that 160, over 40% of them, will not be available (legally) for football fans in the UK to view live.

The cold hard reality, for Newcastle fans in particular, was summed up when the first batch of live TV games were announced last Friday (28 August). It listed 17 Premier League games in September that would be screened live by broadcasters, 11 that wouldn’t – including all three NUFC matches in that month.

With no supporters allowed into PL stadiums until October at the earliest and even then, at best it will be initially only a minority of capacity, it means the only way at the moment that UK based PL fans can watch their team live in games not chosen by the three broadcasters, is via illegal streams.

The ultimate irony for Newcastle fans considering the Saudi takeover was seemingly derailed by the use of TV piracy issues.

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the 20 Premier League clubs, the government publicly (and no doubt privately as well) urged the league to make all PL games available to view, at least until fans are allowed back into stadiums to a significant degree. The EFL and broadcasters have already agreed that for the time being all clubs in the lower divisions can stream (at a price) to fans all matches not chosen in the normal live TV schedule selections.

The Premier League clubs meeting yesterday have now responded to the government pressure fans and are now backing the principle of PL supporters being allowed to watch all games until they able to be inside stadiums.

The Mail revealing that a ‘majority’ (would be interesting to know who didn’t back the idea…) of the 20 clubs backed the motion.

They say that the Premier League will now hold talks with the broadcasters next week to try and get this sorted.

With only eight days until West Ham v Newcastle and other games will only be able to seen via illegal streams in the UK, time is of the essence.

The main reason given previously for not making all games available live from the start of this new season, was the fear of broadcasters that it would dilute interest in and take-up of the games they have chosen as part of the 220 contracted ones.

However, The Mail report adds that there were / are also fears of an impact on season ticket sales and potential demands from the broadcasters for rebates.

In the real world, surely all involved have to accept that it is even in the broadcasters own interests longer-term to allow all games to be shown live legally for the time being. Otherwise, they are simply driving more and more people down the route of finding out how to access illegal streams and if (fans are) successful in doing so, broadcasters will lose many of them as paying customers indefinitely.

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