Premier League

Fan fury as Newcastle's TV black-out leaves them worse than second-class citizens

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'The world’s richest league and its clubs were accused of treating Newcastle United’s supporters worse than second-class citizens after none of their games were chosen for broadcast.' (stock photo)
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'The world’s richest league and its clubs were accused of treating Newcastle United’s supporters worse than second-class citizens after none of their games were chosen for broadcast.' (stock photo)

The backlash against fans being blocked from watching 160 Premier League games on television this season intensified last night following the selection of the first three rounds of live matches.

The world's richest league and its clubs were accused of treating Newcastle United's supporters worse than second-class citizens after none of their games were chosen for broadcast, but every one of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City's matches were.

The Premier League was also mocked for directing fans to live radio coverage of those games not selected for television while they remained banned from attending matches during the coronavirus crisis.

Friday's announcement of September's live games revealed that 11 of the 28 fixtures were not selected by Sky Sports and BT Sport, including all three of Newcastle's and both of Burnley's, and two out of three of Crystal Palace's, Sheffield United's, Southampton's and West Ham United's.

Ian Mearns MP, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters and Newcastle season ticket-holder, said the club's fans were treated worse than "second-class" citizens.

Mearns said supporters already had a "very dim view" of the Premier League and its chief executive, Richard Masters, following the aborted Saudi Arabia-led takeover of the club.

"There is a large body of feeling amongst Newcastle fans now where they regard the Premier League as the problem," said Mearns, who wrote to Masters last week urging him to allow all match-going supporters to watch their own clubs play live on TV.

"The Premier League have got to make their minds up: do they want a league of 20 teams or do they want a league of six teams or five teams?"

Thomas Concannon, a Newcastle United Supporters Trust board member and St James' Park season-ticket holder since the age of nine, said: "It's frightening, the lack of consideration given to Newcastle fans. We won't be able to watch our team at all - legally - whereas other teams' fans can watch their teams again." Stressing supporters were prepared to pay around £10 per match to watch the club's games, he added: "With everything that's happened with Newcastle anyway, people were looking forward to getting back to watching the team - and they still can't." The backlash against the TV blackout is expected to be discussed at Thursday's Premier League shareholders' meeting.

It's understood clubs fear any concessions made - even if fans are prepared to pay - could end up costing them in the long run.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have made an inquiry about signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal but have been put off by the £25m asking price which led the London club to reject a £15m offer from Wolves last week.

Maitland-Niles remains a player of interest and the Newcastle hierarchy have been led to believe he would be willing to move to the North East. But with a budget of £30-35m this summer, manager Steve Bruce must try to stretch it as far as it can go.

Newcastle are also among a number of Premier League clubs who have expressed an interest in signing Liverpool's young striker Rhian Brewster,.

But they will have to wait until the Premier League champions decide what they want to do with the 20-year-old, who scored 10 goals in 20 games on loan at Swansea in the Championship last season.

Telegraph

Telegraph.co.uk

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