Newcastle fans switch off to boost charity

London (AFP) –


Newcastle supporters have raised £19,000 ($24,700) by choosing to give to charity rather than watching their team play Manchester United on pay-per-view TV, according to a fans' group.

Premier League matches in October that have not been earmarked for regular televised coverage can only be watched live via Sky Sports or BT Sport for a fee of £14.95.

Fans already pay regular subscriptions to broadcasters and for season tickets to watch their team in person, something the coronavirus pandemic prevents them from doing.

The @nufcfoodbank Twitter account said Newcastle fans had raised an estimated £19,000 by donating to the city's West End food bank rather than paying to watch the match on Saturday, which Newcastle lost 4-1.

Other supporters' groups are encouraging fans to boycott pay-per-view and give to charity instead, while a petition has been started calling for the pay-per-view scheme to be scrapped.

The Leeds supporters' trust said on Monday 100 fans had donated the price of this Friday's game with Aston Villa in the 12 hours since it stated its intention to send the money to a foodbank.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said last week that the pricing of the matches was "defensible" and that the broadcasters were ultimately responsible for setting the price.

The chief executive of BT's consumer division, Marc Allera, said the suggested price came from the Premier League, and that BT was "pretty much just covering our costs to put these games on".

Allera said the intention of the move was to "get some money moving into the clubs and the leagues that are struggling".

It is understood Premier League clubs are yet to reach a decision on how to split revenue generated from the pay-per-view matches.