‘It’s gone down like a lead balloon… it’s done, it’s FINISHED, get rid of it’: Gary Neville slams Premier League’s £14.95-a-game Box Office scheme as top flight prepare for U-turn amid backlash and poor ratings
- Premier League are set to meet over future of £14.95 pay-per-view matches
- Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have both heavily criticised box office scheme
- The Sky pundit spoke passionately about appointing an independent regulator
Premier League clubs are set to decide on Tuesday whether or not to stick with the current arrangements for the round of games prior to the November international break.
Matches played after this month’s internationals which were not selected for regular television broadcast, were made available for that price via Sky Sports’ or BT Sport’s box office services.
Gary Neville gave an impassioned speech about the benefits of an independent regulator
Brighton’s game against West Brom was on pay-per-view and many home fans boycotted it
Fans’ groups including the Football Supporters’ Association urged the league and the broadcaster to reconsider the pricing.
On Monday Night Football, Neville gave a passionate speech about the benefits of appointing an independent regulator to govern football.
He told Sky Sports: ‘What an independent regulator does, appointed by the government, is just look at balance and fairness. So that self-interest through the Premier League, or whether it be other factions of football, are just able to be brought back to a simple “no that doesn’t work”.
‘£14.95, that doesn’t work, so Mr Regulator says “no you’re not doing that, it doesn’t work for the fan, it’s not fair at this moment of time we’re gonna stop it,” that’s one example.’
Ahead of the meeting on Tuesday, Neville added: ‘It just needs scrapping. It’s gone. It’s finished. No one is paying, no one is watching, it’s done, it’s finished, get rid of it.’
Presenter Dave Jones brought up suggestions by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley for the price to be reduced to £4.95.
Premier League clubs are to decide whether to stick with pay-per-view fixture arrangements
Many supporters have boycotted box office pay-per-view and have donated money instead
Jamie Carragher said: ‘I think it’s laughable that it’s Mike Ashley who’s come out and said that – I think he’s still taking season ticket money off Newcastle fans. For Mike Ashley to come out and say it, and I do agree with his comments, it shows how messed up it is.
‘£14.95 has gone down like a lead balloon and I’m sure it will change.’
Fans of clubs supporting teams who have been put behind box office, have boycotted games recently and instead raised money for charity or foodbanks.
Neville is part of an eight-man group, also including former FA chairman David Bernstein, which is urging the government to establish a regulator by law.
The group released a manifesto on October 15 titled ‘Our Beautiful Game’ which is aimed at tackling the financial disparity and unsustainability across the English pyramid.
Jamie Carragher said the £14.95 box office idea has ‘gone down like a lead balloon’
A petition has been set up to end Pay-Per-View games as they are ‘unfair and unreasonable’
It aims to create a new licensing system, review financial stress in the EFL – including parachute payments and salary caps, implement governance reforms at the FA to ensure its independence and diversity, and to liaise with fan organisations and champion fan involvement in running of football clubs.
Neville said: ‘The absolute preference of the group of eight people have come together to ask for an independent regulator, is that football reforms itself.
‘If Project Big Picture is reshaped in the next few weeks so that we look after fans, looks after non-league, grassroots and the FA, EFL clubs to make them more sustainable and maintaining the Premier League as the best league in the world.
‘If football can reform itself and prove that it can do something it hasn’t done for 30 years, then the eight people in that group would happily fade away. They’re not there for any motive other than to try and address the balance and introduce a fairness to English football.’