Premier League TV row grows

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Ben Rumsby

The chair­man of the All-Party Par­lia­men­tary Group for Foot­ball Sup­port­ers plans to write to the Premier League over its de­ci­sion to block sup­port­ers watch­ing 160 games on tele­vi­sion next sea­son.

Ian Mearns told The Daily Telegraph he in­tended to con­tact the world’s rich­est league af­ter it con­firmed that more than 40 per cent of matches would not be shown live in the UK, de­spite the ban on spec­ta­tors at­tend­ing games.

Mearns, the Labour MP for Gateshead and a New­cas­tle United sea­son-ticket holder, backed calls – in­clud­ing from his own party – for the Premier League to re­verse its de­ci­sion and al­low match-go­ing fans to watch their own clubs play live on tele­vi­sion.

“I am in­tend­ing to write to the Premier League,” he said. “I would be flab­ber­gasted if the Premier League was to say to in­di­vid­ual clubs, ‘I’m afraid to say that you can’t stream these games to your in­di­vid­ual sea­son-ticket hold­ers’. It’s an­other rev­enue source.”

The Premier League has re­peat­edly re­fused to com­ment on its de­ci­sion, but a source at one of its broad­cast part­ners said that show­ing more matches live could force it to com­pen­sate those part­ners.

The Telegraph re­vealed last week that the League was fac­ing a re­volt from sup­port­ers’ groups, which were plan­ning to step up their op­po­si­tion in the com­ing days.

They will ar­gue that match-go­ing fans should be al­lowed to stream their own clubs’ games un­til sta­di­ums are back to full ca­pac­ity. Mearns said: “We’re talk­ing about ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances.”

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