Leeds United Supporters Trust calls for broadcasters to "stop pricing fans out of football" over £14.95 pay-per-view fee

The Leeds United Supporters Trust has called on broadcasters to "stop pricing fans out of football" after it was revealed supporters will be charged a £14.95 pay-per-view fee for some Premier League fixtures.

By Ben McKenna
Saturday, 10th October 2020, 12:38 pm
Updated Saturday, 10th October 2020, 2:27 pm
BROADCAST: Since the start of the season, all Premier League games have so far been shown live. Picture: GettyImages.
BROADCAST: Since the start of the season, all Premier League games have so far been shown live. Picture: GettyImages.

The Whites meeting with Aston Villa on Friday, October 23 is currently scheduled to be shown on BT Sport Box Office for a fee of £14.95 after it was announced that all top-flight fixtures would be made available to watch while supporters could not attend live matches.

The Football Supporters Association welcomed the news that all Premier League games will be available to watch but expressed their concern at the pricing for matches on Sky Sports' and BT Sport's box office services.

LUST raised their own concerns in a statement on Saturday, arguing that some fans will be required to pay more to watch their team if they are selected fewer times for regular broadcast.

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They also feel the "excessive" price for pay-per-view games may lead to households gathering or more supporters turning to illegal streams, as most will already be paying some form of subscription to watch their team while crowds are banned from stadia.

"We are extremely disappointed at the decision by broadcasters to screen Premier League games as part of a pay-per-view model," read a LUST statement.

"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 could also mean potentially fans of some clubs will be paying more than others due to the broadcasters controlling game selections.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: All fixtures have been played without fans since football resumed in June. Picture: Getty Images.

"No matter how this is viewed, £14.95 is excessive and the likelihood is it will only encourage different households to gather to watch games or the use of illegal streams.

"Whilst we appreciate there are costs attached to the set up of broadcasting extra games, passing on this cost to fans in the current climate is excessive when most already pay some form of subscription.

"We feel there could have been other cost effective options presented by the broadcasters and more time given to clubs to come back and discuss with their fan groups."

Out of the 20 Premier League clubs, Leicester City were the one who opposed the move.

LUST claim that this was the only option made available to clubs, although BT Sport has revealed that revenue from the PPV games will go to the Premier League.

However, LUST argue that more options should have been made available and have asked for clarity on where the £14.95 charge will go.

"It is disappointing that Premier League clubs, with the exception of Leicester, opted to vote for this solution without pushing for extra time to consult with their fan representatives," added the statement.

"We understand that this was the only option on the table and PL clubs felt it was better to have an option for fans to be able to view all of the games rather than none at all.

"We spoke to the club [Leeds United] last night and understand that other options were asked for, most notably the ability for clubs to use their own TV channels and have control of the costing model. The decision ultimately sat with the EPL and the broadcaster leaving little choice but for clubs to agree.

"We now ask the PL and the Broadcasters to be clear where the £14.95 will go, if there is no movement on the cost then we hope that some of this will go towards supporting lower league clubs who are under extreme financial pressure rather than additional profits.

"Sadly at a time when fans are struggling financially, ultimately they are now being asked to pay more for an inferior product than witnessing live football.

"The Broadcasters need to stop pricing fans out of football. Football without fans is nothing."