As the third nationwide UK lockdown continues, the Premier League has made the decision to continue providing televised coverage of all matches.
The announcement follows the earlier decision by Richard Masters, the league’s Chief Executive, to keep playing games behind closed doors for the remainder of the season.
Spectators were able to return to stadiums in a limited capacity of up to 2,000 in December, but this was reversed after a surge in COVID-19 cases prompted the UK government to implement another nationwide lockdown.
“The Premier League and its clubs are committed to an accessible solution for fans,” a Premier League statement read.
“These plans have been made with the cooperation of our broadcast partners, working with us to deliver these additional matches while stadiums are missing the supporters who are such an integral part of the game.”
Previous plans in late 2020 to offer Premier League matches as part of a pay-per-view deal were heavily criticised by fans, many of whom donated the £14.99 fee required to watch certain matches to charitable causes, such as local food banks.
Coverage will instead be provided by the league’s four primary broadcasters – Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and the BBC – from 30 January until the end of February.
West Bromwich Albion’s clash against Fulham will be the only match of the third lockdown to be broadcast on the free-to-air BBC and its iPlayer on-demand service. Both clubs are fighting to avoid relegation, having only been promoted last season.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports’ recent coverage of the 0-0 match between title contenders and fierce rivals Manchester United and Liverpool broke the broadcasters viewership record, drawing an audience of roughly 4.5 million.