Liverpool supporters’ groups have urged fans to boycott the Premier League‘s £14.95 pay-per-view TV fixtures, beginning with the visit of Sheffield United on October 24.
Earlier in October, the Premier League confirmed they would continue to make every game available on TV in the UK while they are played behind closed doors, but no longer would be distributed as previously.
Sky Sports and BT Sport have retained their usual allocation, but are now offering the remaining games on a pay-per-view basis, charging £14.95 per game.
None of the parties involved are willing to accept responsibility for the price point, though both Sky Sports and BT Sport have insisted they are largely covering costs for broadcasts permitted and provided by the Premier League.
Liverpool are typically part of the normal broadcasting schedule every weekend, as champions of England and one of the most watchable sides in world football, but Saturday will be different.
Sheffield United visit Anfield on October 24 for an 8pm kickoff that will be made available on Sky Sports Box Office for £14.95.
In response, Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly have called on supporters to boycott the service, asking them to donate to Fans Supporting Foodbanks instead:
Spirit of Shankly call for a boycott of pay-per-view Premier League games starting with our fixture against Sheffield United on Saturday 24 October 2020.
— Spirit of Shankly (@spiritofshankly) October 17, 2020
“We recognise supporters will be torn about following their team, but this is blatant exploitation,” their statement reads.
“Don’t sign up to the profiteering. Boycott. There is a humanitarian crisis in our country, which is only going to worsen.
“Fans Supporting Foodbanks have worked tirelessly during lockdown and restrictions, a task made harder by the loss of matchday collections aligned with the growth in demand – there has increased 130 percent in five years.
“We are asking that those fans who support our boycott of PPV, make a donation, whatever is affordable, to Fans Supporting Foodbanks online here or text: FOODBANKFC to 70460 to donate £5.”
They later add: “We recognise clubs need revenue and at a meeting with the PL in August, SOS supported the 150 non-broadcast games being shown at a ‘reasonable and affordable’ price.
“We, as many fan groups, argue £14.95 is neither reasonable nor affordable.
“Two months ago when these discussions took place, the pandemic had slowed, life was returning to some kind of normality, pubs and bars were open.
“Fast forward to the present day and more than 28 million people in England alone are in Tier 2 or 3.
“This means the majority of fans can only watch their team in their own home by purchasing a subscription to Sky or BT or purchase Box Office PPV.”
Rightly, Spirit of Shankly went on: “It does not take much foresight to see, after the Christmas period, a shift of the ‘bigger’ fixtures moving from subscription to Box Office. If this does happen, there will be no going back.”
To make a donation to Fans Supporting Foodbanks, you can text FOODBANKFC to 70460 to donate £5. (Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message.)