Premier League matches in October which have not already been selected for live coverage will be available to watch on a pay-per-view basis, the league has announced.
The interim measure was confirmed on Friday after a clubs meeting, and means the non-televised games will be available via the BT Sport Box Office or Sky Sports Box Office platforms, for a reported price of £14.95 a game.
A solution for screening the matches had to be worked on after the planned return of spectators from October 1 was scrapped by the Government due to a rise in coronavirus cases.
The #PL today confirmed all fixtures until the end of October will continue to be made available to fans to watch live in the UK
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 9, 2020
The Premier League said in a statement: "The Premier League today confirmed all fixtures until the end of October will continue to be made available to fans to watch live in the UK.
"Under these new arrangements, the current live match selections will remain in place and will be broadcast as normal.
"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.
"Football is not the same without supporters at matches. The Premier League and our clubs remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible."
📩 An open letter to supporters
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 6, 2020
The decision has already been met with some criticism, though.
"This is a really bad move by the @premierleague to charge £14.95 for single matches that have been shown free for 6 months!" Manchester United great and Sky pundit Gary Neville said on Twitter.
Last weekend's Premier League matches were all shown live on either Sky Sports or BT.
In September, matches were shown on those two broadcasters plus Amazon and the BBC.
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
Others were quick to condemn the Premier League's latest announcement.
Premier League pay-per-view service to stream "non-televised" matches -- £14.95 per match in addition to what we already pay in subscriptions -- is an insult. Terrible PR move, serious misjudgement of the public mood and, I suspect, the appetite to pay https://t.co/modo1wGa41
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKay) October 9, 2020
Half of all Premier League games being sold like Tyson Fury fights, by clubs who spent £880m (net) on transfers in this window, and tried to sack a man inside a dinosaur suit. https://t.co/4rF7EAikYR
— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) October 9, 2020
£14.95 to watch a game on pay per view is disgraceful. £5, ok, but £14.95? It's disgusting. At a time when PL clubs spent £1.2bn on players. When they'll give agents £200m. When so many families are struggling. The creed of greed is in @premierleague DNA but this truly stinks.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) October 9, 2020