As expected, the Premier League, all 20 clubs, Sky and BT have U-turned on their disgraceful decision to charge fans £14.95 PPV money to watch their teams.
Leicester City are the only ones who come away from this with their heads held high – standing along as the sole top flight club to reject the hugely unpopular proposals.
Viewing figures have reportedly been a disaster with the move being heralded as PR suicide. Supporters’ decision to turn away and raise funds for charity has forced a dramatic reversal for the time being.
Here is the statement released by the Premier League last night:
“The Premier League today announces that all fixtures from Saturday 21 November, and throughout the Christmas and new year period, will be made available to fans to watch live in the UK.
Working with our broadcast partners, and with the support of clubs, all matches will be shown via existing Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon and BBC services.
Details of the first additional selections covering the period until the end of November are announced today.
December and January selections will follow in due course alongside our usual UK live matches.
Accessible solution for fans:
There is a full schedule of Premier League matches over the festive period and clubs are committed to an accessible solution for fans.
These plans have been made with the cooperation of our broadcast partners, working with us to deliver these additional matches while stadiums are missing the supporters who are such an integral part of the game.
Review in the new year:
The agreement will be reviewed in the new year following consultation with clubs, broadcast partners and in line with any decisions made by Government regarding the return of spectators to stadiums.
The Premier League and our clubs remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible.”
It is expected that additional fees will return if sides can’t get supporters back into the grounds from the New Year. Mike Ashley was the first owner to publicly slam the price and has recommended a reasonable fee on £4.95.
Charging a fiver won’t dent fan’s pockets that much but my only concern is that this is something that would stick even after COVID has been defeated and disappeared.
It has to be made crystal clear by everyone involved that this extra charge will only be temporary. Honesty is the best policy and if all parties admit that they need the extra funding to help see them through financially in the short-term, I’m sure fans would understand and wouldn’t have an issue spending a small fee.
The disgraceful £14.95 has to go and revealed the dark side of football to everybody that may have naively not recognised it beforehand.
If the revised fee in the New Year is anything close to that figure then the beautiful game would have shot itself in the foot once more.