By Jonathan Easton
Despite fans being allowed to return to grounds, the English Premier League will continue its blanket coverage of the league through to at least the end of January.
The UK government announced changes to restrictions on spectator access to sports events at the end of the country’s second lockdown, with clubs in tier 2 areas allowed to welcome up to 2,000 fans. Clubs in tier 1 areas are theoretically allowed to permit up to 4,000 fans, but that currently only includes Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – none of which have professional football teams.
There had been concerns that the re-admittance of fans to stadiums could see the league revert back to blacking out coverage of certain matches, but those fears were evidently unfounded.
The vast majority of fixtures will be shown on either Sky Sports and BT Sport. Amazon will be handed one match, while the BBC will show no live football from the EPL. All coverage has been allocated, except for Brighton & Hove Albion’s tie with Tottenham Hotspur on January 31, which will likely be given to one of Sky or BT.
The latest revisions to the UK’s pandemic-related tiers have seen London and other areas in the South East plunged into the highest band of restrictions, meaning that only a handful of clubs – Brighton, Liverpool, Everton and Southampton – allowed to permit fans. It was widely expected that Leeds would enter tier 2 amid falling case numbers, but the city will likely now remain in tier 3 until at least December 26.https://www.digitaltveurope.com