Opposition to televised Sat 3pm KOS
The Football Supporters Federation would likely oppose any moves to show televise Premier League matches which kick-off at 3pm.
Virgin Media has complained to Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, over the way the top flight’s television rights are sold.
They claim fans are forced to pay over the odds to watch games on television, that consumers do not benefit from competition between channel providers in terms of the cost, and that the restriction on the number of matches being shown live limits consumer choice.
Showing games at 3pm – which are already shown in many overseas countries – in the UK would certainly widen choice, but FSF chairman Malcolm Clarke feels it would have a detrimental effect lower down the pyramid.
He told the Press Association: “We have always supported the closed window. If you have all Saturday afternoon games on TV you would have the destruction of the traditional English game.
“It would clash with Football League games and amateur games and we would not support that.
“Anything that keeps the cost down for fans is good, and we would prefer Premier League clubs have ticket prices to encourage people to go to the games and not watch it on TV, but for those who can’t they shouldn’t be paying through the nose. Preservation of that 3pm window is an important part of the tradition of the English game.”
The Premier League stressed its sales process had always satisfied regulators in the past, saying the rights “have always been sold in a transparent and open process”.
Shaun Harvey, the Football League’s chief executive, expected the 72 clubs who make up the FL would also voice their opposition to any moves to televise Saturday afternoon matches.
He said: “Football’s long-standing blocked hours on Saturday afternoons are there to protect attendances at all levels of the domestic game and their continued existence has to be in football’s wider interests.
“Ticket revenue remains the biggest single source of income for Football League clubs and is worth around £200m per season to our clubs. Therefore, any move to allow televised matches to compete with games played at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon could potentially be catastrophic for the game in this country.”