Free-to-air Premier League games could be a win-win situation – Oliver Dowden

Fans have been given encouragement that some Premier League matches will be televised free-to-air after “productive discussions” between the Government and English football authorities.

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, believes such a deal could be a “win-win situation” for supporters and football clubs.

Sky and BT Sport have exclusive rights to show live Premier League matches in the UK with the BBC holding a deal for highlights.

But with the planned resumption of top-flight football following the coronavirus suspension only possible behind closed doors, talks have been held over widening the television access.

Oliver Dowden reported positive talks
Oliver Dowden reported positive talks (Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright)

Although stressing that the existing broadcast rights have to be respected, Dowden believes the absence of a Saturday afternoon blackout, which is enforced between 2.45 and 5.15 during the regular season, can provide some “flexibility”.

“I think that creates an opportunity for us to be able to get some sport, some Premier League free to air,” Dowden added at the UK Government’s daily coronavirus briefing.

“Those discussions are ongoing. I am having productive discussions – a couple of weeks ago and now 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.”

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