An agreement has been reached between the English Football League and Sky Sports to enable fans to stream non-televised matches while attendance at games is restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Season ticket holders at EFL clubs will be able to stream home league matches involving their side subject to the agreement of the individual clubs, while in the Championship season ticket holders will also be able to watch their side’s midweek away matches.
For weekend away matches in the Championship, and for supporters of League One and Two clubs playing matches away from home at the weekend or in midweek, a match pass priced at £10 must be bought.
The framework will be reviewed in October, at the point when fans are first scheduled to be allowed to return to stadiums on a strictly limited, socially distanced basis.
The only matches not available to stream will be matches assigned for broadcast on Sky Sports, which in the coming season will screen 130 league matches across the three divisions.
The EFL announced it has also reached an agreement allowing supporters to buy £10 match passes for any Carabao Cup first-round tie which is not televised.
It is understood discussions are ongoing regarding rounds two to four – where Premier League clubs will be involved – which will also take place before any spectators are allowed into stadiums.
EFL chief executive David Baldwin said: “There is no argument that attending live matches is what the league, its clubs and fans want to see and, clearly, the overriding objective is to get supporters back into stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.
“In the meantime, this framework allows our clubs, if they so wish, to reward their most loyal supporters by providing what we hope is only short-term access to watch their matches.
“It’s important that whilst the doors remain fully, or part shut, we ensure there is the ability for fans of all EFL clubs to be able to gain access and watch their team and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sky Sports for their support in this matter.
“Collectively, it’s not our preferred situation but given the circumstances Covid has presented us it gives us a temporary option whilst we finalise our plans for fans returning.”
— E F L (@EFL) August 26, 2020
Sky’s EFL coverage will start on Friday, September 11 with the match between Watford and Middlesbrough.
The broadcaster will also screen Birmingham v Brentford the following day, kicking off at 12.30pm, and Ipswich v Wigan in League One on Sunday, September 13 at noon.
The EFL agreement is in contrast to the situation in the Premier League, where as it stands some matches in September will not be available to watch at all in the UK.
Supporters’ groups have expressed their concern over the blackout, with Kevin Miles, the chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, describing the situation in the Premier League as “ridiculous” in an interview on Tuesday.