The UK Government Are 'Demanding' Premier League Shows Saturday 3pm Games For Free
The UK Government are 'demanding' that Premier League matches are shown on live, free-to-air television at 3pm on Saturday afternoons.
The Telegraph have reported that the longstanding blackout in the UK could soon be abolished after UEFA lifted the stipulation back in March.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has stated he wants the Premier League to use the slot to let fans watch domestic league action for free.
"We have to respect the existing rights that the broadcasters have but I do think we've actually got some flexibility if you look at Saturday afternoons," Dowden explained at yesterday's coronavirus briefing.
"It has been the case that Premier League matches can't be broadcast by broadcasters, the idea was that people should not be able to watch them in the stadium, so they didn't want to compete [against the clubs]... clearly that won't be possible if we compete behind closed doors.
"I think that creates an opportunity for us to be able to get some sport, some Premier League free to air. Those discussions are on-going."
The UK government are demanding that 3pm Saturday Premier League kick-offs are shown on live TV and are free-to-air #mulive [telegraph]
- utdreport (@utdreport) May 21, 2020
Last weekend saw the return of the Bundesliga and games were shown on BT Sport on Saturday afternoon which kicked-off at 2:30pm.
The blackout rule was originally established in the 1960's, when Burnley chairman Bob Lord convinced other chairmen that televised games at 3pm would negatively impact the attendance figures of lower league games.
Premier League stars have returned to training in small groups over the last few days but some players are still concerned about the action beginning again.
The league is currently mooted to recommence in mid-June and teams will be tested for the virus twice a week.
One man who has been vocal in his stance against returning is Watford captain Troy Deeney.
Deeney had been criticised for his stance but publicly made a heartfelt statement explaining his decision.
'We see a lot about care workers not getting tested and people dying in nursing homes, yet we are expected to have just short of 3,500 tests a month.'@T_Deeney says footballers might be blamed for taking tests away from frontline staff if plans to restart the league go ahead. pic.twitter.com/IZc7OOJJAq- Good Morning Britain (@GMB) May 18, 2020
"While we are getting tested and while we are going to be in a very safe environment, it only takes one person to get infected within a group for that to be a one to six ratio and again, I don't want to be bringing that home," the 31-year-old explained.
"I've just had a son, my son is five months old, he had breathing difficulties, so I don't want to come home to put him in more danger..."
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