Football Supporters' Association slam Premier League over Newcastle United TV blackout

The Football Supporters’ Association have slammed the Premier League TV blackout of Newcastle United in the month of September.

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 4:45 pm

None of the Magpies’ first three top flight fixtures have been selected for LIVE coverage – meaning fans will likely turn to illegal streams to watch United, with supporters locked out of grounds this month.

In a statement, the FSA said: “Newcastle United and Burnley supporters are the hardest hit as their teams will not be broadcast at all for the first three rounds of fixtures, meaning they will have to wait until October to see their teams on official broadcasts.

“Last season when the Premier League resumed after lockdown, the league and broadcasters made free-to-air broadcasts and streams available for fans.

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Newcastle General View during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool FC at St. James Park on July 26, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“Despite COVID-19 restrictions remaining in place for the start of the 2020-21 season, and reduced capacities being in place for the near future, the broadcasters and Premier League have made no such provisions available this time round.”

In a second statement, the FSA added: “Eleven games during September will therefore be played behind-closed-doors with no regular match-goers in the UK able to watch those games through legal means.

"The FSA’s Premier League Fans Network finds this totally unacceptable.

“From October fans are expected to be readmitted to stadiums but crowds will be severely restricted due to public health measures. The Sports Ground Safety Authority’s Planning for social distancing at sports grounds indicates that capacities will be restricted to between 17%-33% of current limits, dependent upon local implementation.

“If you are a regular match-goer or season ticket holder you are more likely to miss out on a ticket than be successful in the ballot. If you miss out on the ballot there is a very good chance you will not be able to watch your team live as 42% of the season’s games will not be broadcast through legitimate feeds in the UK. Fans will miss their team’s games.

“As a matter of urgency top-flight supporters urge the Premier League to resolve this issue. Do not stop fans from watching their teams during a global pandemic. It would be a disastrous decision by the Premier League and they must listen to supporters.

“The Premier League and broadcasters are preventing UK fans from watching their team during a global pandemic. Supporters across the globe will have access to ALL Premier League games – the only fans the FSA knows of who will not be able to watch all live games are those based in the UK, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea.

The FSA has lobbied the league to allow access to all games, mirroring Project Restart, but they are yet to get a positive answer on this front.

NUST’s Thomas Concannon, said: “It’s frightening, the lack of consideration given to Newcastle fans. We won’t be able to watch our team at all – legally – whereas other fans can watch their teams again.”

The FSA are proposing the implementation of the EFL’s iFollow streaming service, which would allow fans of top flight clubs to pay for access to games of their choice.