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Premier League introduces £15 pay-per-view

Football has been played behind closed doors since the coronavirus lockdownPremier League games not selected for broadcast in October will be available to fans on a pay-per-view basis.The five fixtures per round not already picked to be shown live, will be available on BT Sport Box Office or Sky Sports Box Office, priced at £14.95.Clubs…

Callum Wilson goes to kiss a TV camera
Football has been played behind closed doors since the coronavirus lockdown

Premier League games not selected for broadcast in October will be available to fans on a pay-per-view basis.

The five fixtures per round not already picked to be shown live, will be available on BT Sport Box Office or Sky Sports Box Office, priced at £14.95.

Clubs have agreed this “interim solution” to allow fans to continue watching their teams live.

The Premier League said it and its clubs “remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible”.

Fans have been unable to attend Premier League games since football was halted on 13 March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The top flight resumed on Wednesday, 17 June with the remaining 92 games of last season being played behind closed doors and the opening games of this season have followed suit.

The Premier League and UK government had hoped to bring fans back into stadiums from 1 October but those plans were scrapped following an increase in coronavirus cases.

BT Sport said fans without a subscription would still be able to access their Box Office service.

“With supporters still unable to return to stadiums, we want to help fans watch the games they would usually attend and clubs generate critical revenue,” the broadcaster said.

Former Manchester United and England right-back Gary Neville, now a television pundit, said on social media it was a “really bad move” by the Premier League.

In a statement, the Football Supporters’ Association urged broadcasters to “reconsider their pricing”.

“Today’s announcement shows that fan power works,” the FSA said. “At the start of this season the Premier League and its broadcasters had planned to leave match-going fans entirely locked out of their side’s matches; now thanks to the sustained pressure of our #LetUsWatch campaign all games will be available for fans.

“Many Premier League clubs have already taken money from fans for matches they can’t attend, so we urge them to get refunds out to those supporters as soon as possible, particularly season ticket holders.

“We’ve already heard from many supporters and FSA members who are concerned about the £15 per game being charged and we’d urge BT Sport and Sky Sports to reconsider their pricing for these games.”

Alex Hurst, the chair of Newcastle United’s Supporters Trust said:external-link “The idea that Premier League clubs NEED to implement PPV because of economic needs would carry more weight if they hadn’t just spent £1bn on players, furloughed staff, received government loans, weren’t charging fans for games they aren’t going to and hadn’t just made thousands of staff redundant.”

Supporters of EFL clubs can buy match passes to watch their teams for £10 using the iFollow service.

‘The Premier League’s move has raised eyebrows within government’ – analysis

BBC sports editor Dan Roan

Ever since last season resumed, all Premier League matches have been available to watch live via the top-flight’s broadcast partners. This was partly to help the government encourage fans to stay at home while games stayed behind closed doors, rather than congregating outside grounds or in pubs.

But having had their hopes of a partial return of fans inside grounds from 1 October dashed, despite the success of pilot events, the clubs have had enough of generating nothing from these matches.

Their annoyance at being told turnstiles must remain shut when pressure is also building on them to come up with a bail-out for the EFL, is likely to have hardened their stance.

But after clubs spent more than £1bn in the summer transfer window, and at a time when many supporters will be struggling financially, there will be anger about having to pay £15 for matches fans had grown used to watching for no extra cost, on top of their subscriptions for Sky and BT. Those who have also bought season tickets will be particularly infuriated.

I understand the Premier League’s move has raised eyebrows within government, and clubs will now come under renewed pressure to refund season ticket holders, and perhaps reduce the pay-per-view cost going forward.

October fixtures (all times subject to change)

Saturday 17 October

Everton v Liverpool – BT Sport (12:30 BST)

Chelsea v Southampton – PPV (15:00 BST)

Leicester City v Aston Villa – PPV (15:00 BST)

Newcastle v Manchester United – PPV (15:00 BST)

Sheffield United v Fulham – PPV (15:00 BST)

West Brom v Burnley – PPV (15:00 BST)

Manchester City v Arsenal – Sky Sports (17:30 BST)

Sunday 18 October

Crystal Palace v Brighton – Sky Sports (14:00 BST)

Tottenham v West Ham – Sky Sports (16:30 BST)

Monday 19 October

Leeds v Wolves – Sky Sports (20:00 BST)

Saturday 24 October

West Ham v Manchester City – BT Sport (12:30 BST)

Arsenal v Leicester – PPV (15:00 BST)

Aston Villa v Leeds – PPV (15:00 BST)

Brighton v West Brom – PPV (15:00 BST)

Fulham v Crystal Palace – PPV (15:00 BST)

Liverpool v Sheffield United – PPV (15:00 BST)

Manchester United v Chelsea – Sky Sports (17:30 BST)

Sunday 25 October

Southampton v Everton – Sky Sports (14:00 GMT)

Wolves v Newcastle – Sky Sports (16:30 GMT)

Monday 26 October

Burnley v Tottenham – Sky Sports (20:00 GMT)

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