Fans face the prospect of missing out on 160 Premier League games in 2020/21, with broadcasters not set to show 40 percent of fixtures live despite supporters still being unable to attend matches.
The conclusion of the 2019/20 Premier League season saw all 92 matches broadcast live in the UK, with Sky, BT, Amazon and BBC sharing the coverage.
With fans prohibited from attending games to the pandemic, the move enabled supporters to watch their team throughout the run-in.
However, despite fans still unable to attend matches due to the coronavirus at the start of the new campaign and only a percentage of any stadium allowed to be filled in the future, fans will remain cut off.
Despite more matches than ever, 220 out of 380 set to be televised live, no provisions have been made for the season starting behind-closed-doors or with limited attendances for the remainder.
There remain hopes that supporters will be granted access to stadiums from October 1, the fourth matchday of the season, with a potential of earlier games being selected as trials for certain protocols.
But fans remain on the periphery, despite this period of time showing more than ever that we are the lifeblood.
While the Daily Mail claim that clubs attempted to be granted permission to live stream games that were not selected for broadcast, like the EFL’s iFollow service, but were denied by the rights holders.
The middle ground was seemingly the move to add a further 20 games across the season, but it still leaves 160 unaccounted for.
A move which continues to leave fans perplexed:
Whatever your view on this, it’s very short-sighted of the Premier League and tv companies.
Do they think match going fans are just going to say ‘Oh ok, I can’t watch most games this year, I’ll do some shopping instead’? No.
And they’ll lose a bit more goodwill https://t.co/fQTVmbzdpe
— Jay McKenna (@JayMcKenna87) August 20, 2020
It’s genuinely a mystery why all concerned are not trying everything to deliver to their core audience. Breaking a habit and link established over generations is easy. Rebuilding it is much harder.
— Martin Cloake (@MartinCloake) August 20, 2020
It’s disgusting once again fans treated with contempt
— David Coates (@coatesy1976) August 20, 2020
That’s pretty pathetic. It’s feasible that, at best, most PL stadiums might get 25% capacity for parts of the season. The fact it will be largely BCD with nobody watching is outrageous.
— JS (@SuperbSpearing) August 20, 2020
Head of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, Katrina Law aptly said on the issue:
“Match-going fans are absolutely going to expect fair broadcast access to games that they’re prevented from attending for public health and safety reasons.
“It would only be match-going fans in the Premier League in the UK who would be deprived of watching their team. Unless, of course, the Premier League and the broadcasters want to encourage us all to stream illegally.”
The Telegraph’s report goes on to say that the Premier League “declined to comment” following Thursday’s fixture announcement and remain “committed to getting fans back into full stadiums as soon as possible.”