Premier League clubs to decide TODAY if they will SUSPEND £14.95 pay-per-view or cut the price during lockdown, after being rocked by furious reaction to ‘money-making scheme’ while fans remain locked out of grounds
- Premier League clubs meet on Thursday and will discuss new charges for PPV
- The scheme has been widely condemned as greedy amid backlash from fans
- Options include cutting the price of matches to £9.95 or halving it to £7.50
- Chairmen will discuss offering games at no charge during English lockdown
Premier League clubs will rethink their controversial pay-per-view matches today – and could axe the charge altogether as the country locks down for a second time.
English football’s top-tier will hold a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday at which clubs will hope to resolve the issue that has become a PR disaster.
The current £14.95 cost of PPV matches, available via BT Sport and Sky Box Office, has sparked a ferocious backlash among fan groups, who have raised thousands of pounds for food banks rather than pay the money to watch the matches.
It is expected that the Premier League will at least agree to cut the cost to £9.95 per match when the 20 club chairmen meet today.
The reduced amount would be consistent with the EFL’s iFollow charge to watch games in the Championship, League One and League Two,
BT Sport screened the match between Burnley and Chelsea for £14.95 on pay-per-view
Premier League clubs have been rocked by the backlash to the £14.95 PPV scheme
Other options to be considered include halving the charge to £7.50 or reverting to offering matches at no extra charge, at least during the new lockdown period, according to The Times.
Matches could be offered as part of existing packages or even as free-to-air games, as occurred in the previous lockdown,
Sportsmail understands fan groups, led by the Football Supporters’ Association, would be satisfied with a fair price.
‘We need to make sure matches are on the telly but that cannot be a money-making scheme,’ Kevin Miles, spokesman for the Football Supporters’ Association said previously.
The Premier League’s PPV initiative was designed to give supporters access to matches that had not been picked up as part of existing broadcast packages while fans are unable to attend stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League’s pay-per-view plan averaged fewer than 40,000 viewers per match
However, despite an average of 39,000 people watching each game, marginally above the Premier League’s target figure, the scheme came to be seen as greedy and was widely condemned.
The criticism and imposition of a new national lockdown – starting today until December 2 – has forced the Premier League, which deferred a decision on PPV at its meeting in October, to make changes now.
In October, the Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters, described the price as ‘defensible’.
Both BT Sport and Sky Sports have seen dwindling figures arriving to purchase the matches
But ahead of the shareholders’ meeting, one club source told The Times: ‘It’s been a PR disaster — £14.95 was a mistake and now we are going into lockdown again there is a feeling we have to do something to change it,’
The last round of scheduled PPV matches is due to take place this weekend ahead of the international break, which will give the Premier League breathing space to discuss their plans further with broadcasters.
Any changes are expected to take effect after the international break.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has described the PPV price as ‘defensible’