Premier League clubs likely to scrap pay-per-view model for second lockdown period

A camera focuses on a Newcastle player
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce and owner Mike Ashley have spoken out about the pay-per-view fixtures

The Premier League is likely to scrap the controversial pay-per-view method for matches after November’s international window.

Clubs will instead look to devise a new solution that will cover the Christmas period.

A definitive decision was not taken at a shareholders meeting on Thursday but discussions are said to be ongoing.

However, the £14.95 fee – which led to significant protests among fan groups – is expected to be dropped.

It is understood that the model used in September, where all games were shown live by the Premier League’s broadcast partners, is the likely direction of travel.

Pay-per-view remains on the table but a final decision is not expected this week.

More than £300,000 has been raised for charity by fans boycotting pay-per-view games, which were introduced in October after clubs voted 19-1 in favour of the “interim solution”.

Liverpool’s fan group the Spirit of Shankly labelled the decision to charge £14.95 “disgraceful”, while the Football Supporters’ Association said many fans were “concerned” over the price and wanted it reduced.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and manager Steve Bruce have said the fee for one-off matches is too high, while former Manchester United and England right-back Gary Neville, now a Sky pundit, said the system “just needs scrapping”.

Pay-per-view will still be used for this weekend’s fixtures, for games not selected for regular television broadcast, but whatever decision is made would come into force from 21 November and is due to last for the rest of the year.

Last month, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the £14.95 fee was “defensible”, and the announcement of the model came at a time when top-flight clubs were lobbying for spectators to be allowed back into grounds.

However, since then England has entered a second national lockdown, which will last until 2 December, and hopes of an imminent return of fans have faded.

In September, all 28 Premier League matches were shown live, with all broadcast partners – Sky Sports, BT Sport, the BBC and Amazon Prime – screening matches.