Brighton's Premier League matches could be free to air - says 'brightest and best' Government task-force

Brighton and Hove Albion's Premier League matches have moved closer to being broadcast free-to-air, while the Government has announced the formation of a task-force to help sport resume in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 21st May 2020, 12:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st May 2020, 12:26 pm

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said he had "productive discussions" with top-flight officials, and believes such a deal could be a "win-win situation" for supporters and clubs.

Sky and BT Sport have exclusive rights to show live Premier League matches in the UK, with the BBC holding a deal for highlights.

But with the planned resumption of top-flight football following the coronavirus suspension only possible behind closed doors, it negates the standard requirement for a Saturday afternoon blackout.

TV cameras could be back at the Amex Stadium if the Premier League season resumes

Dowden said: "I think that creates an opportunity for us to be able to get some sport, some Premier League free to air.

"I hope we can sort this out and also hope we can get more money going into the sport of football. I think we can find ourselves in a win-win situation."

Former England international Alex Scott will be among a select panel charged with finding creative ways to bring sport back in a shutdown environment, Dowden confirmed.

He added: "It (the task-force) will be made up of the brightest and the best from the creative, tech and sporting worlds.

"They will be advising me on how we find new and different ways to get industries back up and running."

Phase one of football's return was given the green light by Premier League clubs at the start of the week, allowing Brighton to start small, socially-distanced training sessions from Tuesday.

Six people across three top-flight clubs tested positive for coronavirus out of 748 in the initial round of testing, including three at Watford - one player and two staff members - and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan.

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton: In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.