It barely feels like the action has been away, but the new Premier League season gets underway on Saturday September 12.
And while the government’s latest update on their Covid-19 protocol suggests that live fans at matches won’t be happening any time soon, there has been a huge boost with the news that all 28 games to be played in September will be broadcast live on TV.
That includes free action on the BBC and Amazon Prime (sign up for a trial without any charge), plus Sky Sports and BT Sport will also be given the chance to broadcast games at 3pm on Saturday – a rare chance to circumnavigate the traditional ‘blackout’ rule that has been in place for the past four decades.
But in a bitter blow for supporters, only a handful of the games will be ‘free to air’, with Sky Sports and BT Sport now back behind a paywall despite the continued absence of supporters from the terraces.
There are hopes that will change, and a campaign spearheaded by the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) – found under the Twitter hashtag #letuswatch – has called for the government to lobby the broadcasters and get more games shown for free.
They have raised the possibility that more and more fans will turn to illegal streams to watch their teams in action, or that attendance in pubs will continue to increase if that is the only broadcast outlet available – not ideal at a time when numbers in pubs are still restricted.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has urged the Premier League and broadcasters to listen to fans, and the FSA called for live action to be extended beyond September should – as now appears likely – fans be barred from attending games for the foreseeable future.
Their chairperson, Malcolm Clarke, said:
“It’s a step in the right direction but this policy must be extended through the season while games are being played in front of severely restricted crowds.”
Where Can I Watch the Premier League?
The TV schedules for the whole of September are yet to be confirmed, but here’s how you can catch the action on the opening weekend (all times GMT):
|Sat||12th Sept||12:30||Fulham vs Arsenal||BT Sport|
|15:00||Crystal Palace vs Southampton||BT Sport|
|17:30||Liverpool vs Leeds United||Sky Sports|
|20:00||West Ham United v Newcastle United||Sky Sports|
|Sun||13th Sept||14:00||West Bromwich Albion vs Leicester City||Sky Sports|
|16:30||Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton||Sky Sports|
|Mon||14th Sept||18:00||Sheffield United vs Wolverhampton Wanders||Sky Sports|
|20:15||Brighton & Hove Albion vs Chelsea||Sky Sports|
As mentioned, details of the remaining broadcast dates and times remain sketchy, although we know that the meeting between Leicester City and Burnley on September 20 will be free-to-air on the BBC.
The clash between newly promoted Leeds and Fulham will take place on September 19 at 3pm and be shown by BT Sport, while an early-season defining contest between Liverpool and Chelsea will be shown on September 20 at 4:30pm on Sky Sports.
And towards the end of the month, intriguing fixtures of Manchester City vs Leicester and Liverpool vs Arsenal – on September 27 and 28 respectively – will both be shown by Sky Sports.