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Premier League fans still facing TV lockout as season begins

Supporters of Premier League clubs still face the prospect of not seeing their teams play by legal means when the season resumes in 11 days time.

Newcastle United and Burnley supporters are the hardest hit as their teams will not be broadcast at all for the first three rounds of fixtures, meaning they will have to wait until October to see their teams on official broadcasts.

Last season when the Premier League resumed after lockdown, the league and broadcasters made free-to-air broadcasts and streams available for fans to see their teams play as the competition took place behind closed doors.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions remaining in place for the start of the 2020-21 season, and reduced capacities being in place for the near future, the broadcasters and Premier League have made no such provisions available this time round.

Newcastle United supporters were particularly critical of the Premier League after none of their games were chosen for broadcast on Friday but every one of Liverpool, Manchester

United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City’s matches were.

Thomas Concannon from Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust said: “It’s frightening, the lack of consideration given to Newcastle fans. We won’t be able to watch our team at all – legally – whereas other fans can watch their teams again.”

Over the first three round of fixtures in the Premier League 11 fixtures will not be viewed legally by any supporters:

Gameweek 1
Crystal PalacevSouthampton12/08/202015:00
West Ham UnitedvNewcastle United12/08/202015:00
Sheffield UnitedvWolves14/08/202020:00
Gameweek 2
Leeds UnitedvFulham19/08/202015:00
Leicester CityvBurnley19/08/202015:00
Aston VillavSheffield United20/08/202014:00
Newcastle UnitedvBrighton20/08/202014:00
Gameweek 3
BurnleyvSouthampton26/08/202015:00
Crystal PalacevEverton26/08/202015:00
Tottenham HotpsurvNewcastle United26/08/202015:00
West Ham UnitedvWolves26/08/202015:00

 

The FSA has been lobbying the Premier League to allow access to these games, mirroring what was provided during Project Restart at the end of 2019-20. Last week, the chair of the influential All-Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters Ian Mearns MP wrote to the Premier League calling on them to end the lock out.

“We all understand why we cannot be in grounds at the moment but to be deprived of watching the match at all makes it worse,” said Joe Blott, chair of Spirit of Shankly.

“The technology is clearly there so this is about will, not ability and that is the issue here. There’s no reason why it can’t be done because it already has been.”

The FSA supports a temporary suspension of the Saturday 3pm TV blackout and would be happy to review that periodically with other stakeholders such as the Premier League, EFL, National League, broadcasters, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

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