Premier League manager criticizes pay-per-view

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Slaven Bilic has criticized the pay-per-view model introduced in the Premier League
Slaven Bilic has criticized the pay-per-view model introduced in the Premier League

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic warned fans could be priced out of football after his team’s pay-per-view game against Burnley ended goalless.

Supporters who wanted to watch the match had to pay £14.95 after the pay-per-view model was brought in for games not picked for regular TV coverage.

The fixture, which kicked off at 17:30 BST, ended in the first goalless draw of the Premier League season.

“Football is not polo or golf,” said Bilic.

“It’s not my money; it’s their money. Football should not be free, but affordable.

“Football is the sport for masses, a working-class sport, and it should be affordable to everybody.”

Fans have been unable to attend top-flight games since football was halted on 13 March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When football returned in June, 92 matches were still left to be played of the 2019-20 season and all were shown live on Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC or Amazon Prime TV.

It was the first time since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 that games were shown live on the BBC, while 25 matches were available free to air on Sky Sports, including the Merseyside derby on the first weekend of the return.

The Premier League and UK government hoped to bring fans back into stadiums from 1 October but those plans were scrapped following an increase in coronavirus cases.

The Football Supporters’ Association urged broadcasters to “reconsider their pricing” after pay-per-view games was introduced.

West Brom’s new £15m signing Karlan Grant had a goal ruled out for offside on his debut on Monday, before Burnley striker Chris Wood headed against the crossbar in the second half.

West Brom defender Branislav Ivanovic – starting a Premier League match for the first time since December 2016 for Chelsea – went close, while Burnley striker Ashley Barnes was denied on several occasions.

Both sides remain without a win, with West Brom fourth from bottom in the table and Burnley one place below.