Premier League: Culture secretary reveals games could be free-to-air

UK Culture secretary Oliver Dowden says that, when the Premier League restarts, some games could be televised free-to-air.

Dowden says he has been having “productive talks” with the governing bodies from a range of British sports as to getting the seasons back underway.

The culture secretary says that sport getting back up and running is dependent on whether they pass the governments five tests and can still adhere to social distancing.

Currently, football, as well as most other sports, has been suspended indefinitely as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. No resumption schedule has yet been revealed.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee discussed many an issue – including how the Premier League and other sports would be broadcast.

“I have said to the Premier League it wouldn’t send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn’t have access to it.”

Dowden says he realises that the Premier League are “reliant on the revenue they derive” from broadcasting deals.

However, he also said that there are “elements of protecting revenue from broadcasting but also looking at ways of increasing access”.

Dowden says that the Premier League are “considering” the proposal.

What would the public perception of sport resuming be, given the outrage to the Cheltemham Festival going ahead last month?

Dowden says that “consistency” is key to it all.

 “I would just want to make sure that the signals we were sending from that were consistent with the signals that we were sending to the public more broadly,” he said.

“So I think it is sensible at this stage to have the engagement, to think through it, but I’ve been clear in all the conversations I’ve had that all of this is without prejudice so let’s do the work and then we will make the decision at the appropriate point – clearly, number one, in accordance with the scientific evidence.”

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Kieran Harm
Kieran hails from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and holds a degree in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton. He covers a range of sports, specialising in football and NFL. Kieran is a long-suffering member of the Toon Army as well as a very proud member of Broncos Country.

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