Premier League clubs will meet on Thursday to discuss scrapping the controversial pay-per-view system during lockdown, following what has been labelled a ‘PR disaster’.
Non-televised Premier League games have been shown on Sky’s pay-per-view offering at a cost of £14.95 per match while fans remain locked out of stadiums across the country, leading to a supporter revolt against the plan.
A recent Premier League vote elected to continue the system at the current price until this weekend at the very least ahead of another review, but the introduction of a fresh lockdown period has seen Premier League club owners raise the prospect of changing the system during the four-week period.
Discussions will also include changes to the payment structure, with a price cut to £9.95 likely to receive support as it falls in line with what fans of EFL clubs are charged to watch games in the Championship, League One and League Two on iFollow.
However, all fees could well be suspended until 2 December, which would see three full Premier League rounds broadcast across Sky, BT Sport, the BBC and Amazon as was the case following Project Restart last season, although it would also need the support of the broadcasters which, at this stage, appears unlikely.
The proposal will be put forward and discussed at a virtual meeting between the league and senior staff of all 20 Premier League clubs, where the latest developments in the talks over a financial bailout for the EFL will also be discussed.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced overnight that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, EFL counterpart Rick Parry and Football Association chairman Greg Clarke had all been summoned to appear before a DCMS select committee next week to discuss the failure to reach an agreement, with several EFL clubs on the verge of a financial crisis that may bring the point of no return.
The subject was brought up again in parliament on Thursday morning, with Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden criticising the failure to reach an agreement.
“I am of course very disappointed in the current situation in the inability of football to come to that agreement,” Dowden said. “It is the case that there is already £50m on the table for League One and League Two clubs to stop them falling into financial difficulty, which is a good start.
“I know further discussions are taking place and indeed the minister for sport met again with both bodies, the Premier League and EFL this week to reiterate the need to reach an agreement in the interest of all fans.”
The trio will also be quizzed on their involvement in Project Big Picture, which saw Liverpool and Manchester United work secretly with both EFL chairman and FA chairman Clarke about revamping the English football pyramid in proposals that were rejected by the Premier League last month.
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