Premier League Set To Scrap Controversial Pay-Per-View Policy After This Weekend
The Premier League is set to abandon its scheme to charge fans to watch pay-per-view matches on BT and Sky Sports box office channels.
Introduced earlier this season, supporters were outraged at having to fork out £14.99 on top of their television subscriptions to watch a game that hadn't been picked up by broadcasters.
As the country goes its second lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of the 20 chairmen of club's in England's top flight believe that fee is too high and the PPV model could be axed completely.
NEW: Premier League to abandon unpopular Pay Per View charges for matches from next week at least until end of 2020 (+ likely for good): https://t.co/rdM4XEBw4G- Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) November 5, 2020
A source told The Times: "It's been a PR disaster - £14.95 was a mistake and now we're going into lockdown again there's a feeling we have to do something to change it."
The Premier League's official broadcasters agreed during the last lockdown to make all matches accessible to supporters when the season resumed in July following a three-month hiatus.
However, given the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact Premier League clubs are unable to welcome fans into their stadiums, it was felt the PPV scheme could claw back some of the money lost.
But the policy may well will be scrapped after this weekend's matches as Premier League bosses respond to the criticism.
Don't forget to keep your commemorative receipt for Arsenal v Aston Villa. Could be a historic souvenir. Hopefully the last ever Premier League pay-per-view game.- Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) November 5, 2020
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While no formal decision has been made, it's claimed a 'consensus' was found at a Premier League shareholders' meeting on Thursday to abandon the scheme and make the matches free-to-air.
The move to charge fans backfired horribly. Some supporters even donated the £14.99 fee to local foodbanks.
"Pay-per-view was all about the Premier League understanding that they had the fans over a barrel and they knew they would pay the additional amount of money," MP Ian Mearns, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters said recently.
"I don't see why we cannot have more free-to-air games now we are in a national lockdown then anyone can watch them. People in dire financial straits can actually watch these games if the club they love is participating."
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley even gave a rare interview to criticise the scheme, stating: "Charging £14.95 for single televised matches in the current climate it is not acceptable to any football fan.
"Supporters have overwhelmingly rejected this offer and the Premier League must now act.
"As a club, Newcastle did vote in favour of the pay-per-view proposal, but to be clear, this was because there were no realistic or any viable alternatives put forward to enable supporters to watch matches."
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