Pay for food not Pay Per View - Liberal Democrats back call from fans' group to support West End Foodbank

October 13, 2020 9:49 AM

Newcastle United supporting councillors in Newcastle's Liberal Democrat group are donating the cost of a Pay Per View game to the West End Foodbank, and are inviting other fans to do likewise at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=StrongerTogetherNWEFB

Cllr Ali Avaei at Newcastle City CouncilSpokesperson Cllr Ali Avaei said, "My colleagues and I are taking a stand against yet another money grab from the Premier League. At a time when the whole country is pulling together the Premier League has decided to monetise the crisis."

The news comes at a time when some Newcastle United season ticket holders are in limbo awaiting refunds having paid £500 plus in advance for 2020/21 season tickets. "So tens of thousands have paid big sums to actually watch this game, but are now told to pay more," Cllr Avaei continued. "We were impressed to see a fans' group asking fans to pay the £15 PPV charge to the foodbank instead of filling the league's coffers. We fully support this and urge as many people that can to do this."

Cllr Henry Gallagher said, "It is not surprising that a bunch of millionaires think £15 is a reasonable figure, but to those of us on small incomes or unemployed it is huge amount. It could add to the public health crisis by encouraging groups of fans to club together and meet in each other's houses, so breaking the tight new Covid guidelines we have!"

The Liberal Democrats also have huge concerns that this helps drain yet more money away from the grassroots of the game. Cllr Avaei, himself a local league referee said, " It is disgrace that at a time when tax payers money is being used to keep non-league and grassroots football going through the COVID crisis, the Premier League is using the same crisis to generate excessive profits from football fans. Some of the smaller teams in my own ward such as; Hazelrigg Juniors FC or Great Park FC benefit from even a tiny fraction of that money."

Cllr Avaei is also concerned that people could be pushed towards illegal streaming sites. "The Premier League has asked local police forces to act against those individuals who stream football games illegally. Of course copyright piracy is an offence that needs to be tackled, but this latest move by the Premier League towards pay-per-view may make the streaming issue worse. Its hard to justify the use of limited police resources to act against those who want to watch their beloved football teams without paying ever spiralling fees."

Cllr Robin Ashby added "This is pretty dubious long term business practice. The cost of one game is about the same as a whole month's subscription to Netflix. Locally, Newcastle United could add to rather than subtracting from their reputation by making their games available to their loyal following - those that attend their games and those who just cheer them on - by pushing the Premier League to make their games available online for a nominal sum. 50,000 people paying £1 each would make more than 3,000 at £15 a time."