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


Callum Wilson goes to kiss a TV camera
Premier League football has been played behind closed doors since the competition resumed in June

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.

Premier League clubs voted 19-1 in favour of the move, with Leicester City the only one to vote against it.

The move has drawn criticism from football supporters, while the Premier League said it and its clubs “remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible”.

Spectators 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 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.

Sky Sports managing director Rob Webster said: “Our subscribers still get more than 140 of the very best matches, while supporters of individual clubs won’t have to miss out on any games during this period.”

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

Former Manchester United and England right-back Gary Neville, now a Sky 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.”

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 bailout 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

Saturday 17 October

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

Chelsea v Southampton – PPV on BT Sport Box Office (15:00 BST)

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

Newcastle v Manchester United – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (20:00 BST)

Sunday 18 October

Sheffield United v Fulham – PPV on BT Sport Box Office (12:00 BST)

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

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

Leicester City v Aston Villa – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (19:15 BST)

Monday 19 October

West Brom v Burnley – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (17:30 BST)

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

Friday 23 October

Aston Villa v Leeds – PPV on BT Sport Box Office (20:00 BST)

Saturday 24 October

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

Fulham v Crystal Palace – PPV on BT Sport Box Office (15:00 BST)

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

Liverpool v Sheffield United – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (20:00 BST)

Sunday 25 October

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

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

Arsenal v Leicester – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (19:15 GMT)

Monday 26 October

Brighton v West Brom – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (17:30 GMT)

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

Friday 30 October

Wolves v Crystal Palace – PPV on BT Sport Box Office (20:00 GMT)

Saturday 31 October

Sheffield United v Man City – BT Sport (12:30 BST)

Burnley v Chelsea – PPV on BT Sport Box Office (15:00 BST)

Liverpool v West Ham – Sky Sports (17:30 BST)

Sunday 1 November

Aston Villa v Southampton – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (12:00 GMT)

Newcastle United v Everton – Sky Sports (14:00 GMT)

Man Utd v Arsenal – Sky Sports (16:30 GMT)

Tottenham v Brighton – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (19:15 GMT)

Monday 2 November

Fulham v West Brom – PPV on Sky Sports Box Office (17:30 GMT)

Leeds v Leicester – Sky Sports (20:00 GMT)

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