‘It’s not acceptable’: Newcastle owner Mike Ashley SLAMS Premier League pay-per-view scheme, suggesting cutting price to £4.95 as clubs prepare to discuss reduction
- The Premier League’s £14.95 charge for certain games has sparked outage
- Fans have been boycotting the fees, instead donating their money to charity
- Clubs will meet on Tuesday to debate maybe scrapping the derided scheme
- Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has released a statement criticising the charge
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley became the first Premier League club chief to go public against pay-per-view on Monday, slamming the ‘unacceptable’ asking price.
It comes as clubs attend a shareholders meeting on Tuesday in which they will discuss cutting the cost of the controversial PPV arrangement from £14.95 to £9.95 following a furious backlash from fans.
But Ashley says £4.95 would be a more acceptable price, writing in a statement: ‘Charging £14.95 for single televised matches in the current climate is not acceptable to any football fan.
Mike Ashley believes the Premier League’s new pay-per-view scheme is ‘unacceptable’
With fans still locked out of matches, the league have been charging £14.95 to view games
Instead of paying for games such as Brighton v West Brom, supporters have donated to charity
‘Supporters have overwhelmingly rejected this offer and the Premier League must now act. Why not make it much more accessible at £4.95 per match until Christmas?
‘The Government should waive VAT on the above pay-per-view matches so that as many of those who are unable to attend matches in person can at least watch their team.
‘The profit from the above reduced-price pay-per-view option, I would suggest that 50 per cent would be retained by the Premier League and 50 per cent would go to the football pyramid below.’
While the Newcastle owner has been able to watch from the stands, fans remain shut out
Supporters were outraged when Sportsmail first revealed how much they would have to pay to follow their sides, with only Leicester voting against the initiative at the time. Ashley says Newcastle voted in favour ‘because there were no realistic or any viable alternatives put forward’.
Both Sky Sports and BT Sport are understood to be unhappy, too, feeling that they have bore the brunt of the blame when they are not actually making money.
They claim their production costs are covered and that the rest goes to the clubs, who will meet via video call on Tuesday morning.
One industry insider described viewing figures as ‘shocking’ thus far, but it is likely the £14.95 price will remain in place until next month’s international break.
That could be reduced to £9.95 for games thereafter while grounds are empty. That would see it fall in line with how much EFL fans are paying.
Broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport are said to be unhappy with the pay-per-view scheme
In anticipation of Tuesday’s meeting, the Football Supporters Association have made the Premier League and broadcasters aware of the strength of fans’ feelings on the issue.
Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the FSA, told Sportsmail: ‘By donating hundreds of thousands to local food banks instead of paying the £15 fee for pay-per-view over the past week, supporters have shown just how unpopular PPV is in its current format and pricing.
‘It needs urgent reconsideration from the Premier League, clubs and broadcasters.’