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Premier League considering free-to-air TV coverage

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The Premier League is considering making live action free-to-air if the coronavirus crisis forces matches behind closed doors. Photo: PA

The Premier League is considering making live action free-to-air if the coronavirus crisis forces matches behind closed doors. Photo: PA

The Premier League is considering making live action free-to-air if the coronavirus crisis forces matches behind closed doors. Photo: PA

The Premier League is considering making live action free-to-air if the coronavirus crisis forces matches behind closed doors, the UK culture secretary has revealed.

Oliver Dowden said he had told the world's richest league "it wouldn't send the best signal" if all matches remained behind a paywall during its desperate scramble to complete the season".

Appearing before the Westminster Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Dowden was asked about fears people would breach social-distancing rules by gathering to watch live Premier League football on television unless it was made free-to-air.

He replied: "It's a very good point and I've raised exactly this challenge to the Premier League in the conversations that I had with them. I have said to the Premier League in particular I think it wouldn't send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn't have access to it."

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Terrestrial

He added: "That doesn't have to just be in the form of going on to traditional terrestrial channels or, indeed, showing all matches.

"There are all sorts of creative options within that. But I think it is something they should consider and they have said they are considering it."

The Premier League declined to comment.

Given its primary motive for completing the season is to fulfil its broadcast contracts, it is unthinkable Sky Sports and BT Sport would make matches they are entitled to show behind a paywall more freely available.

It also is unclear whether proposed free-to-air coverage would relate to Ireland. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk