Spirit of Shankly are calling for a boycott of pay-per-view Premier League games starting with our fixture against Sheffield United on Saturday 24 October 2020.
Why we are doing this
We recognise supporters will be torn about following their team, but this is blatant exploitation. We are in the middle of the biggest pandemic and economic crisis for a generation, yet the Premier League and their clubs, except for Leicester City, Sky and BTSport have no trouble asking fans to pay £14.95 per game.
It is unacceptable. They have to re-think a much-reduced, affordable cost, if there has to be a charge at all. Ideally these games should be free to air.
What we are asking fans to do
Don’t sign up to the profiteering. Boycott. There is a humanitarian crisis in our country, which is only going to worsen. Fans Supporting Foodbanks have worked tirelessly during lockdown and restrictions, a task made harder by the loss of matchday collections aligned with the growth in demand – this has increased 130% in the five years they have been going.
We are asking that those fans who support our boycott of PPV, make a donation, whatever is affordable, to Fans Supporting Foodbanks online here or Text: FOODBANKFC to 70460 to donate £5.
COVID 19 and the economy
At the peak of the pandemic in March, all football was cancelled. When it did return all games were televised either on the subscription channels or free to air on BBC. Day passes could be purchased for £10.
When this season kicked off in September, plans were started to allow a reduced number of supporters in to grounds in October. We now know we will not be returning to grounds anytime soon. Same as it was in May.
We recognise clubs need revenue and at a meeting with the PL in August, SOS supported the 150 non-broadcast games being shown at a “reasonable and affordable” price. We, as many fan groups, argue £14.95 is neither reasonable nor affordable.
Two months ago when these discussions took place, the pandemic had slowed, life was returning to some kind of normality, pubs and bars were open.
Fast forward to the present day and more than 28 million people in England alone are in Tier 2 or 3. This means the majority of fans can only watch their team in their own home by purchasing a subscription to Sky or BT or purchase Box Office PPV.
It can be argued that paying £14.95 is acceptable as Box Office boxing is often in the region of £19.95. This is not comparing like with like, the boxing events are not a weekly occurrence.
The Box Office platform is significant. It does not take much foresight to see, after the Christmas period, a shift of the ‘bigger’, fixtures moving from subscription to Box Office. If this does happen, there will be no going back.
Meanwhile, significant closures and job losses have already happened. The national furlough scheme finishes at the end of October leaving tens of thousands facing uncertainty and millions of jobs at risk.
This is not the time to exploit people. This calls for a boycott.