The Premier League has confirmed that it is discontinuing pay-per-view matches and that all 2020 matches not previously selected for broadcast will now be available to watch via Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon and the BBC.
While the games aren’t ‘free’ – fans still have to pay a subscription fee for three of the aforementioned platforms and a licence fee – they won’t come at an additional cost.
The situation, which mirrors the arrangement during England’s first period of national lockdown, will be reviewed in the new year. At that point, clubs will be desperately hoping they can invite some fans to watch games in the flesh.
A statement reads: “The Premier League today announces that all fixtures from Saturday 21 November, and throughout the Christmas and new year period, will be made available to fans to watch live in the UK.
“Working with our broadcast partners, and with the support of clubs, all matches will be shown via existing Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon and BBC services.
“Details of the first additional selections covering the period until the end of November are announced today. December and January selections will follow in due course alongside our usual UK live matches.
“There is a full schedule of Premier League matches over the festive period and clubs are committed to an accessible solution for fans.
“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.”
The Premier League’s u-turn marks an impressive victory for fan power. The Football Supporters’ Association and other supporter-led organisations, including the AST, were very vocal about the £14.95 price point levied on fans to watch their side.
Many boycotted matches in favour of watching illegal streams and gave the fee to local charities instead. It’s estimated approximately £500,000 was raised up and down the land with Arsenal fans generously donating around £40,000 to the Islington Food Bank.
Gooners who did pay full whack to watch the Gunners in action against Leicester and Aston Villa were treated to two horrible Sunday night defeats.
We’ll be hoping to avoid a third such disaster at 7.15pm on Sunday 29 November when Wolves come to town; the match will now be broadcast by Sky Sports.