Despite another week of incredible Premier League football, the biggest news is unfortunately coming from off the football pitch.
On October 9th, an emergency meeting of the Premier League shareholders was called, with a vote taking place on whether Pay Per View services should be used to broadcast untelevised games as further Government restrictions prevented fans from returning to stadiums.
This move was seen as a way of aiding fans in following the clubs they love, with matches not previously available being broadcast on both Sky Sports and BT Sports box office platforms.
Jose Mourinho on the new £14.95 pay-per-view charge.
? “£14 is a lot of money, you cannot even share with your friends as they cannot come to your house. I feel sorry for the fans” pic.twitter.com/EEQ4U2kjpK
— Footy365 (@Footyy365) October 18, 2020
With the last time fans were allowed to attend games being 7 months ago, this would be a welcome move for supporters wanting to watch their club’s in action. Unfortunately, the price per match will be £14.95 on top of the original subscription charge to both Sky and BT Sport.
For many, this figure is where the problems begin; in particular for the student population. After months of disruption to their education, many have once again been able to get underway with their studies. Yet living expenses don’t come cheap and with limited budgets at their disposal how is this part of the population expected to afford this sum to watch their team play. For many this will not be possible, instead having their options limited by financial barriers.
A greater feeling of injustice may be felt for many fans with their clubs offering no reimbursement for prepaid for season tickets. For this group, it appears that clubs are only willing to use their fans for their funds, not treating them as the loyal supporters that many season ticket holders are.
It also hasn’t been made common knowledge to fans how these additional funds from the Pay Per View scheme will be distributed throughout the club. Will these faithful supporters ever see any benefit?
.@nufcfoodbank asked Newcastle United supporters to donate to a food bank instead of paying a new £14.95 pay-per-view fee to watch games on Sky Sports or BT Sport.
— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) October 14, 2020
Earlier on in the Coronavirus pandemic, Premier League games were shown on free to air television, a move that only makes the current package on offer seem even worse in comparison.
A time of great intrigue for many clubs has just passed with the 2020 summer transfer window, where Premier League teams in total spent over £1 billion on transfer fees. If club finances are such an issue, how can this extortionate figure be justified?
Every fan likes to see new, exciting players join the Premier League and it’s some of these transfers that continue to boost the reputation of it as the best league in the world. However, if clubs cannot simply afford these fees without relying on additional fan support, then they simply cannot happen.
According to the Premier League, this was a way of aiding fans; but it simply is not. It has been heavily criticised and for good reason, taking more money out of fans pockets will never be the right option for raising funds.
Hopefully plans to return fans to stadiums will take place and Premier League Pay Per View can be revised. While the original gesture of allowing fans to follow their teams is appreciated, the execution has been poor with a real rethink needed.