Premier League: ‘Plan Will Drive Fans To Illegal Streams’

"It is going to drive people towards piracy,"

Broadcasting Premier League matches on a pay-per-view basis will lead to fans watching on illegal streams, says a football finance expert Kieran Maguire.

The Premier League clubs see the “interim solution” as a way for people to still watch their teams, but some fans have criticised the £14.95 charge.

“It is going to drive people towards piracy,” said Kieran Maguire.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the Price Of Football author described the Premier League’s pricing scheme as a “public relations disaster”, adding: “It discriminates against the clubs that don’t tend to be on Sky Sports or BT that often.”

Spectators have been unable to attend Premier League games since football was halted in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the 2019-20 top-flight season resumed in June, the remaining 92 matches were shown live via the Premier League’s broadcast partners, and that has been the case so far this term.

Some fans have criticised the planned price – a similar scheme for English Football League clubs costs £10 per game, others are already paying subscription fees to BT Sport and Sky Sports, and season ticket holders at some clubs are paying for tickets despite not being allowed into the stadiums.

“The Premier League’s argument, which is EFL clubs are charging £10 so we should be charging more because we have more cameras, is also flawed,” said Maguire.

“The cameras were already going to be there because the matches would have been shown on Match of the Day anyway, so the set-up costs would be minimal.”

Top-flight clubs voted 19-1 in favour of the pay-per-view scheme on Friday – with Leicester City the only one to vote against it – but Maguire says it “goes against the grain” of government advice.

“Families and friends are going to gather together, which completely goes against what we are trying to achieve by discouraging people from going into other people’s houses,” he added.

“If they got the pricing right it might have been fine, but nobody actually knows what is happening with the money.”

“Is it going into a central pot? Is it being used to bail out lower league clubs? Or is it going to be kept by the individual clubs who are playing these particular matches?”

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“It all seems to be a bit ill-thought through.”

The Premier League would not comment on the issue of piracy. However, last month it announced it had obtained “enhanced” powers to shut down illegal streaming services, known as a “Super Block”.

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