The Premier League’s controversial decision to introduce a pay-per-view scheme is set to be ditched after just a few weeks following furious fan revolt.
As English football restarted behind closed doors last month, the decision was taken to show every Premier League game on TV to ensure fans would not miss out.
The 2020/21 campaign kicked off in the same manner, however, that model was all of a sudden scrapped in October, with Premier League clubs voting in favour of 19-1 that all games that fell outside of the original broadcast agreement should be subjected to an additional £14.95 charge.
While broadcasters Sky and BT have insisted they are not making any profit out of the service – with any profits being directed to the clubs – the concept of charging fans an additional fee during the continued absence of supporters has been met with widespread fury.
This is a really bad move by the @premierleague to charge £14.95 for single matches that have been shown free for 6 months !
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) October 9, 2020
Fan groups up and down the land have urged supporters to boycott the scheme, with thousands of fans shunning the chance to watch their sides and instead donating the £14.95 fee to charity in protest.
Now, with the Premier League on a two-week hiatus due to the final international break of the calendar year, chief executive Richard Masters has confirmed that they will be ‘moving away’ from the pay-per-view model just three weeks after the first game was broadcast.
“We took a decision to move to pay-per-view and now we are reviewing that decision,” Masters told a meeting with the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
“We have listened to feedback, we will be changing direction and moving away from it and taking another step that will see us through lockdown, the Christmas period and into January. I can’t announce what it is.”
The announcement is a victory for fan power, though it is yet to be seen what kind of alternative will be put in it’s place.