Premier League Matches Could Be Free-to-Air Should Season Conclude Behind Closed Doors

​The remaining Premier League fixtures could be made free-to-view for fans if the season is to be concluded behind closed doors.

At present, there is no knowing whether the English top flight will be played out in full as the effects of the coronavirus leave sports across the globe in the dark over how events should play out.

Regular discussions are taking place to determine whether the ​Premier League can be completed in full, cancelled entirely, or finished in a manner that sees the current standings remain as such.

One of the most spoken about conclusions is to finish the rest of the fixtures behind closed doors, providing the necessary health and safety checks are carried out that would allow club staff, playing squads, match officials and necessary media teams to be present without fear of infection.

Should that be the avenue the Premier League takes, then culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, has stated that it could be made available to the public on a free-to-air basis.

“I have said to the Premier League it wouldn’t send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn’t have access to it,” he told the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, via the ​BBC.

However, given that broadcasting revenues are a key component to sporting bodies and clubs earning money, he did acknowledge that they are ‘reliant on the revenue they derive’.

Nevertheless, he went on to state that there are ways for sport to have ‘elements of protecting revenue from broadcasting but also looking at ways of increasing access’. It’s added that the Premier League are ‘considering’ the proposal.

How and when football returns is still up in the air. Having been placed on an indefinite postponement, there is a clamour to try and complete the Premier League season before 30 June, as contractual complications will arise with large numbers of players seeing their deals with clubs end on that date.

Already in the ​lower echelons of English football we’ve seen the National League, National League North and National League South cancel all remaining fixtures. Meanwhile, in Belgium, the top division has been cancelled, whereas, in the Netherlands, it looks likely that the ​Eredivisie will follow suit.


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