Leeds United among Premier League sides set to review pay-per-view broadcast policy

The Whites have been shown on pay-per-view once since its introduction.

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 7:55 pm
Leeds United's players ahead of kick-off at Elland Road. (Getty)

Premier League clubs will review the decision for top flight games to be shown on a pay-per-view service following widespread criticism.

It was decided earlier this month that matches outside of those selected for normal television broadcast would be made readily available to fans for £14.95 per game through BT Sport and Sky Sports Box Office.

The decision to introduce the service was made following Government-imposed restrictions on supporters attending matches, which mean all games currently take place behind closed doors.

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Criticism of the move has been extensive from supporters and has been labelled a ‘public relations disaster’ for the Premier League by many.

Three games are said to have received fewer than 10,000 viewers while none of those broadcast so far behind the paywall have been watched by more than 100,000 since its introduction.

Fans up and down the country rallied together in backlash of the scheme and have instead donated would be match fees to local foodbanks as an alternative - it is estimated over £300,000 has been raised by the boycott.

Leeds United supporters themselves donated £57,000 to charity in response to the Whites’ trip to Aston Villa being shown on BT Sport Box Office last Friday.

A shareholders’ meeting of the 20 top flight clubs on Thursday has now revealed that a review will be undertaken as to whether they continue with the scheme in its current form.

Any changes, though, are unlikely to take place until after the upcoming international break meaning the Whites’ trip to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace on November 7 will remain on the pay-per-view platform.

Planned discussions over whether to continue with the PPV broadcasts, end them, or reduce the price per fixture also come in the wake of comments made by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, who claimed the charge in the current climate is “not acceptable to any football fan.”

The government are set to debate their decision not to allow supporters into stadiums on November 9 after a a petition over the reopening of the professional game gathered nearly 200,000 signatures.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have already been selected for television coverage by Sky Sports for games with Leicester City (November 2), Arsenal (November 22) and Everton (November 28) outside of the pay-per-view barrier in the coming weeks.

The Leeds United Supporters Trust released a statement condemning the PPV scheme earlier this month.

“We are extremely disappointed at the decision by broadcasters to screen Premier League games as part of a Pay Per View model,” LUST said.

“Over 22,000 Leeds United fans have already paid for a season ticket that they are unable to use, and more have subscribed to as many as three different broadcasters in order to watch matches.

“We are now being told that we will have to pay an additional £14.95 per game to watch those that haven’t been selected for the televised schedule. This is excessive.

“Broadcasters need to stop pricing fans out of football and clubs need to stand together with fans. Football without fans is nothing.”