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Premier League blackout rule broken on first weekend of new season

Premier League blackout rule broken on first weekend of new season

In a rare turn of events, the 3pm Premier League blackout rule was broken on Saturday.

The Premier League blackout rule was broken on the first weekend of the season in a rare instance.

In the United Kingdom, a long-standing regulation has been in place since 1987, stipulating that football cannot be screened live on TV or online between 2.45pm and 5.15pm.

On broadcasters like Sky Sports and TNS Sports, only early and late kick-offs able to be televised. The primary purpose of this is to stop fans watching from their sofas and not attending games.

But on Saturday, the rule was abolished in Arsenal's 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners kicked off the season with a victory courtesy of first-half strikes from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka before Taiwo Awoniyi pulled one back for the visitors late on.

But the game actually kicked off at 1pm as opposed to the scheduled 12:30pm slot following a delay caused by issues with Arsenal's new electronic ticket system.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

It left thousands of fans stranded outside and kick-off was pushed back as a result.

The game was shown live on the newly branded TNT Sports and with the half-time break and the increase in added time in both halves, the game was still going on during the blackout slot and coverage was not interrupting.

The blackout rule was briefly scrapped during the period where games went ahead behind-closed-doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And an exception was made last season when Manchester City hosted Leeds in a 3pm kick-off on Sky Sports due to King Charles' coronation.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

However, there are no plans to lift the ban, according to Premier League chief Richard Masters.

Asked by The Athletic, he said: "We aren’t planning to change that. We are still supportive of it for those historic reasons to protect the window where most professional football is played, in order to protect participation and attendance. We think it still plays a role.

“I know people are frustrated they can’t watch every game. We have progressively put more matches into our live packages and are at 200 now and we are considering the volume of matches for the auction, which is slated for quarter four of this year.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty & Premier League

Topics: Premier League, Arsenal, Nottingham Forest