Football

Premier League scraps controversial pay-per-view plans after backlash

The model was introduced at the start of last month, but has been quickly dropped after criticism from supporters.

The Premier League has scrapped its controversial pay-per-view model for broadcasting matches in the UK, with all games to be shown live until the end of the Christmas and New Year period.

A £14.95 charge was introduced at the start of last month for matches outside the standard Sky Sports and BT Sport subscription following a vote by Premier League clubs.

It was deemed as an “interim solution” to ease the financial burden on clubs, with supporters still unable to attend matches because of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the UK.

However, the scheme was met by fierce backlash from supporters, who resented having to pay even more money on top of their usual subscriptions.

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More than £300,000 was raised for charity as part of a protest by fans, who chose to donate £14.95 to good causes rather than pay for a pay-per-view game.

The plan was also criticised by pundits such as former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, who described the decision to charge extra for matches “a really bad move”. 

The Premier League has responded by reverting to the model that was used during the Premier League restart over the summer and the first month of the delayed 2020-21 campaign, with all matches shown live between its UK broadcast partners Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and the BBC.

The broadcast selections for the rest of this month have been announced with scheduling for December and January to follow, with a review to take place in the new year.

“There is a full schedule of Premier League matches over the festive period and clubs are committed to an accessible solution for fans,” read a Premier League statement.

“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.

“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.”

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