Premier League rules out scrapping 3pm blackout despite EFL considering to ditch the rule

Premier League chief Richard Masters rules out scrapping the 3pm blackout on Saturday games… despite the EFL considering ditching it as they prepare to negotiate their next TV rights deal

  • The EFL are ready to ditch the 3pm rule on Saturdays in their next TV rights deal 
  • Richard Masters has ruled out any change when it comes to the Premier League 
  • The blackout has become an increasing source of frustration for supporters 

The Premier League has ruled out scrapping the 3pm blackout which prevents football fans in the United Kingdom watching Saturday afternoon games live on television.

The English Football League are ready to ditch the 3pm rule as they prepare to negotiate their next TV rights deal from the 2024-25 season onwards.

But Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has ruled out any change to the status quo when it comes to England’s top-flight.

‘We’ve been proponents of Article 48 for the entire period of the Premier League and I don’t see that changing in the near term,’ Masters said.

Article 48 under UEFA’s statutes allows member nations to select a two-and-a-half-hour weekend slot where live football is banned from TV channels.

The Premier League have ruled out scrapping the 3pm blackout on Saturday games

Premier League chief Richard Masters said he can't see the rule changing 'in the near term'

Premier League chief Richard Masters said he can’t see the rule changing ‘in the near term’

The English Football Association, in conjunction with broadcasts, decided no live football could be shown between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays to protect attendances at stadiums.

Only Scotland and Montenegro also adhere to Article 48 among UEFA’s 53 member nations.

While every Premier League match, regardless of kick-off time, is available in many countries outside the UK, the blackout has become an increasing source of frustration for home-based fans.

That’s despite fans needing costly subscriptions to Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video to watch live Premier League football legally in the UK.

The EFL’s tender document for the next rights cycle took the form of a request for proposals rather than a fixed offering, reflecting a changing broadcast market, and opened the door to 3pm games being screened live for the first time.

The EFL will target the likes of Facebook, Netflix, Google, Apple and Amazon as well as current TV partners Sky Sports and other networks.

Home-based fans have grown frustrated with the rule as matches are available to watch in many countries

Home-based fans have grown frustrated with the rule as matches are available to watch in many countries

The EFL are prepared to ditch the 3pm rule as they prepare to negotiate their next TV rights deal

The EFL are prepared to ditch the 3pm rule as they prepare to negotiate their next TV rights deal

The League’s board are convinced by splitting up the various packages they can reach a target of £200m-a-year, significantly more than their present £119m-a-year deal.

As a result, the tender document does not include a set number of matches or contract length, with the EFL making clear they are willing to televise every game and ditch the blackout, which has been in the rules since the 1960s.

During the Covid pandemic, matches were shown live in the UK during the Saturday blackout but the rule was reinstated when fans returned to stadiums.

The next set of Premier League rights in the UK will run from 2025-28 with the auction expected to produce stiff competition.

But Masters has suggested 3pm Saturday kick-offs will not be up for grabs for the time being.

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