Premier League set to allow Sky and BT Sport to CHARGE fans if games are played behind closed doors due to coronavirus – The Sun

PREMIER LEAGUE chiefs plan to let broadcasters charge for extra TV games if the coronavirus forces fan-free football.

Government scientific experts have cleared this week’s games, as well as the Cheltenham Festival, to go ahead as planned.

Spurs fans heading to Germany for Tuesday's Champions League second leg with Leipzig were also told they will be allowed inside the Red Bull Arena despite PSG’s clash with Dortmund and Valencia’s match against Atalanta taking place without supporters.

But sports bodies, including the FA and Premier League, were told to confirm their contingency plans are in place for behind closed doors events.

Prem clubs are now preparing to enforce a Government-ordered shut-out from as soon as next week.

It means the 3pm “blackout” that prevents Saturday afternoon games from being shown on TV to avoid impacting gates is set to be temporarily lifted.

But that will not see matches being made available for fans to watch for free.

Instead, it is understood that League bosses will work with their main broadcast partners, Sky and BT Sport, to ensure that matches are available for supporters – but at a price.

Based on scientific advice there's no rationale to close or cancel sport events as things stand

One Prem insider explained: “We have some great broadcast partners who do a fantastic job.

“These games have never been due to be shown on television and if we do change things that is a service fans wouldn’t have normally had.

“But the idea of screening them free to air is not something we’re looking at or planning at this stage.”

The pressure on football in particular to ramp up planning followed a meeting of major sports bodies, the broadcasters and the health experts at the Departure of Culture, Media and Sport.

Clubs were informed that the latest number of positive results for the virus was 319 from almost 25,000 tests, with a fourth fatality confirmed yesterday afternoon.

Prem bosses, determined to ensure that they take all possible moves to ensure the season is completed on schedule, are increasingly resigned to the reality of a number of fixtures rounds being played behind closed doors.

Potential measures include a ban on over-70s attending games as they are the most vulnerable group to the worst impact of the virus.

The government is understood to be considering a ban on matches being screened in pubs, to prevent supporters spreading the virus.

But other concerns include fans congregating outside grounds at big matches to which the gates are barred, especially with Liverpool, closing in on a first title since 1990.

This week’s Prem games are expected to be played with supporters as scheduled, although that is subject to change.

In a statement after the meeting, a spokesperson for the Department said: “The meeting included a discussion of how staging sporting events behind closed doors could work in practice, should the situation change and become necessary.

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