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Government want Premier League matches on free-to-air TV when season restarts

The Premier League have been in contact with broadcasters throughout the negotiation process

Ben Burrows
Wednesday 20 May 2020 18:15 BST
Coronavirus: How has sport been affected?

The government are in “ongoing discussions” about making some of the Premier League matches from the remainder of the season available on free-to-air television.

The Premier League remains indefinitely suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic although have the green light from Downing Street to return in June should there not be a further spike in cases between now and then.

All 20 clubs came to an agreement about players returning to training in small groups earlier this week with talks continuing over how and when they will attempt to conclude the 2019/20 campaign.

The Premier League have been in contact with television broadcasters throughout the negotiation process with there being a willingness on all sides to change the viewing experience given there will be no supporters allowed in stadiums for the games.

On Wednesday culture secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed at the latest daily briefing that the government are fully behind plans for a return to the field in mid-June “if we can do it safely” and that the removal of the Saturday afternoon 3pm blackout of games “creates an opportunity for us to be able to get some Premier League free to air."

He added: “Those discussions are ongoing, I am having productive discussions... the latest ones with Premier League, the EFL and the FA.

“I hope we can sort this out and also hope we can get more money going into the sport of football. I think we can find ourselves in a win-win situation.”

It has also been announced that former England Women international Alex Scott will join a government task force which will look at ways to get sport back up and running safely.

Dowden added: “Finding creative, crowd-free ways to navigate the virus is the biggest challenge for our recreation and leisure industries right now.

“So this week I am setting up a renewal task force which will help them bounce back. It will be made up of the brightest and the best from the creative, tech and sporting worlds.

“They will be advising me on how we find new and different ways to get industries back up and running.

“It includes Alex Scott, a former Lioness and Olympian and now an award-winning broadcaster, and she will help us think through how we can get sport back safely in a way that helps both clubs, players and supporters alike.”

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