English football is set for a shift to pay-per-view television after the Premier League called a halt to its current broadcast arrangements.
Since the Premier League emerged from lockdown, every game has been available to view live, without additional charges being imposed by broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport.
However, that practice has been shelved by the Premier League and only half of all matches will initially be available for the standard subscription price of those services, with all other games costing the consumer an extra fee.
A £14.95 price tag will apply to each game, and The Times reported that profits will go to clubs once the broadcasters have covered their costs.
This is a really bad move by the @premierleague to charge £14.95 for single matches that have been shown free for 6 months !— Gary Neville (@GNev2) October 9, 2020
Early matches that will be subject to the extra charge include Newcastle United's home match against Manchester United on Saturday, October 17, and Liverpool's Anfield clash with Sheffield United seven days later.
Gary Neville, the former Manchester United captain who is now a Sky Sports pundit, condemned the move, writing on Twitter: "This is a really bad move by the Premier League to charge £14.95 for single matches that have been shown free for 6 months!"
Because all Premier League games are being played behind closed doors amid the Covid19 pandemic, watching on television is the only way for supporters to see teams in action.
In a statement setting out plans for the rest of October, the Premier League said it would continue to allow five matches per round to be broadcast, as was normal before the pandemic hit.
It added: "In addition, the five matches per round not already selected will be made available to supporters on a pay-per-view basis, accessed via BT Sport Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office platforms.
"Clubs today agreed this interim solution to enable all fans to continue to watch their teams live.
"The Premier League has worked closely with Sky Sports and BT Sport to provide this arrangement and is grateful for their support. The agreement will be regularly reviewed in consultation with clubs and in line with any decisions made by government regarding the return of spectators to stadiums."