West Brom’s Slaven Bilic condemns Premier League’s decision to charge fans £14.95 for pay-per-view games

Jack de Menezes
·2 min read
Slaven Bilic hit out at the Premier League for charging fans £14.95 per game (Getty)
Slaven Bilic hit out at the Premier League for charging fans £14.95 per game (Getty)

West Bromwich Albion manager Slaven Bilic has criticised the Premier League's decision to charge fans extra to watch matches via pay-per-view platforms.

Domestic broadcasters had been airing all Premier League games since the June restart as a temporary measure with fans still barred from stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, matches not already selected for broadcast in October, including West Brom's 0-0 draw against Burnley on Monday, are being priced at £14.95 per game.

"Football is not polo or golf," said Bilic.

"It's not my money; it's their money. Football should not be free, but affordable.

"Football is the sport for masses, a working-class sport, and it should be affordable to everybody."

Fans continue to be locked out of all sporting events in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Monday’s match between West Brom and Burnley the first goalless draw of the season.

In order to grant fans access to every game, Sky Sports, BT Sport, the BBC and Amazon Prime united to show every game live, with Sky and Amazon making some of their matches free-to-air along with the BBC in an effort to help supporters watch games that they would normally be able to attend.

But the new plans to charge fans for every match not selected under the normal broadcast rules have been strongly criticised by areas of the game, including the Football Supporters' Association who urged broadcasters to “reconsider their pricing”, although confusion remains over who has set the pricing of each game as neither the Premier League nor the broadcasters admitted to being behind the move.

Newcastle United fans took part in their own protest against the plans by donating £20,000 to charity instead of paying for access of their weekend match with Manchester United, which ended in a 4-1 defeat at St James’ Park. The ‘Charity Not PPV’ campaign called on supporters to donate money to the West End food bank instead of the Premier League encounter, with fans getting behind the scheme in their thousands. Supporters of Aston Villa, Burnley, Leeds United and Manchester United have also done the same.

Premier League clubs hope the pay-per-view system is a temporary solution, with the league getting behind plans to bring fans back to live sport by putting pressure on the government to rethink their decision to scrap the return earlier this month.

Supporters were due to return to sporting events in socially distanced numbers from 1 October following a series of successful pilot events, but the plans were scrapped when coronavirus numbers began to rise again that has since brought stricter restrictions across the country.

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