Premier League refuse to budge on cost of PPV matches despite public backlash

The Premier League are refusing to budge on their controversial pay-per-view scheme despite significant public backlash and have for now ignored calls for the cost of each game to be reduced.

Since the international break in October, every match not already being shown by broadcasters has been made available at the sum of £14.95 a piece – much to the displeasure of fans across the country.

Instead, many supporters have opted to pay into local food banks while rejecting the chance to watch their team on Sky or BT Box Office.

The initiative was initially introduced to provide a stream of income to help top-flight clubs deal with a lack of matchday revenue, but viewing figures have flopped as fans protest against paying the fee.

Despite staunch criticism of the cost, the Premier League has opted to retain the current price following a meeting between its members on Tuesday, at least for the time being.

According to The Athletic , a discussion took place between club and league representatives in relation to the PPV fixtures, but there was no vote on whether to reduce or scrap the cost.

It is thought such talks will be held after the next international break in November where clubs will consider a £5 reduction to £9.95 per match.

Newcastle United, Leicester City and West Ham United are the only clubs who are believed to have pushed for an immediate price cut, but their proposal did not gain further support.

Fans' groups including the Football Supporters' Association have urged the league and the broadcasters to reconsider the pricing when it was announced earlier this month.

And they gained an unlikely ally in Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who suggested a VAT waiver could shrink the cost of individual games to as little as £4.95.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said earlier this month the price was "defensible" while BT Sport said it was simply covering its costs in screening these matches.

A spokesperson for the FSA said: "Our members have expressed the view that they want the ability to watch their teams legally while they remain locked out of games with the Covid-19 restrictions in place.

"However, by donating hundreds of thousands to local foodbanks instead of paying the £15 fee for pay-per-view over the past week, supporters have shown just how unpopular PPV is in its current format and pricing. It needs urgent reconsideration from the Premier League, clubs and broadcasters."

Ashley, who explained his initial vote in favour of pay-per-view as being due to a lack of "realistic or viable alternatives", has now proposed a reduced-price version funded by a waiver on VAT.

He said in a statement: "I am calling on the Premier League to immediately act and review its current pay-per-view arrangements for live matches in the UK.

"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.

"Why not make it much more accessible at £4.95 per match until Christmas?

"The Government should waive VAT on the above pay-per-view matches so that as many of those who are unable to attend matches in person can at least watch their team."

Premier League clubs had hoped to welcome back some supporters to stadiums from October 1, but the Government has imposed an indefinite delay on those plans due to the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide.

The league has warned English football will lose £100million for every month fans remain barred from grounds, with the EFL stating on Sunday that the Government's position was "frustrating and perplexing", with indoor venues such as shopping centres and cinemas open to the public.

Source: Read Full Article