FSA Premier League Network Meeting 10/11/20

FSA / NUST News / Premier League - 11-11-2020

Yesterday evening (Tuesday), the Newcastle United Supporters Trust were present at the latest Premier League Network Meeting set up by the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

At this meeting, a wide range of pressing issues that affect both our current experience of watching football to the future of our game were discussed in detail, from broadcast access to watching our team on TV, to ‘Project Big Picture’ and the returning of fans to stadiums.

Broadcast Access

As you will all be aware, football fans were exploited once again from the powers that be in being made to pay £14.95 to watch their team (legally) live on TV.

This has been an issue since August, just before the return of the 2020/21 season where it was becoming clear that the Premier League and broadcasters would not follow suit in making almost every game free to air for football fans. This resulted in a campaign being launched to ‘Let Us Watch’, which would provide access for those fans who would normally be there in person to be able to watch their team.

Initially, this was successful and plans were in place to show the first four rounds of fixtures free to air this season, with a planned return of fans to stadiums in early October, this has since been pushed back for the foreseeable future.

Following the announcement of the delay, the Premier League and broadcasters introduced the £14.95 payment to watch games that hadn’t been selected for live TV broadcast. We were in unanimous opposition with supporter organisations around the league against this price, it exploits fans at a time when money is tight around the country due to the pandemic.

Fan representatives from the FSA Premier League Network lobbied the Premier League and have seemingly forced their hand to stop the current charge of PPV. We now watch on with interest as to what the next scheme will be, and we will collate the views of our members upon the release of any new scheme. We must protect fans in this matter. We have been assured by the Premier League that our views will be put forward in the upcoming shareholders meeting, where a decision will be made on the future of TV broadcast throughout the lockdown period and beyond.

Fans worked together across the country, with Newcastle fans taking the lead on a sensational campaign of ‘Charity not PPV’ which has since raised upwards of £400,000 for foodbanks across the country.

Fans who would normally attend the games in person should not be shut out from watching their side. And we will continue to work with fellow fan organisations to keep pressure on the Premier League to guarantee a fair deal for all.

Project Big Picture

‘Project Big Picture’ was discussed by FSA Chief Executive Kevin Miles and highlighted the attack on the game as we know it that would see a transfer of power to a select amount of football clubs in the Premier League.

Fan organisations of the apparent ‘Big 6’ immediately joined forces in opposition to the idea, supporting the football pyramid as we know it.

We all agree that more must be done to protect the lower league clubs from going out of business. They help make up our sensational game, but this should not be done in a way that allocates all of the power to foreign owned clubs.

Whilst the idea was rejected, again we will all be paying close attention to any future developments on this matter.

What all of this does show, is that a fan-led review into the governing of football is an absolute must, and those with the power should not be left to review themselves, as was suggested by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters at Tuesday’s meeting with the DCMS. We will discuss the prospect of the fan-led review with Ian Mearns MP and Kevin Miles on Thursday’s live YouTube Q&A.

Return of fans to stadiums

With the return of fans to stadiums currently not having a set return date, we are all in limbo as we await government approval. We know this won’t be any time soon, but that doesn’t mean the work hasn’t been going on across the league that for when the day finally arrives, clubs will be well prepared in providing a safe environment for fans to return on a phased return basis.

We have already attended one meeting with Newcastle United where we are sure they are preparing in the best way possible for the safety aspect. Ticketing aspects were discussed but the complexities of the situation mean nothing is confirmed at this stage. We look forward to working with them in the near future for an update on the situation from them, and to provide any feedback our members have.