English Football League (EFL) have announced that matches across Championship, Leagues One and Two will be made available for broadcast or streaming until fans are allowed back into stadiums.
Sky Sports will broadcast 130 live matches throughout the 2020-21 season from across all three divisions but whilst fans are not permitted to spectate from inside stadiums, clubs will be allowed to stream games on either iFollow or their own equivalent service for £10 per match to non season ticket holders.
Should games however be chosen for live coverage on Sky Sports, non season ticket holders won’t be able to stream those specific matches via their club’s chosen streaming service.
This arrangement will remain in place until both home and away fans are allowed to return to stadiums with season ticket holders to be provided access to every home game of their club in the short term.
Clubs however won’t be permitted to stream weekend matches in which they’re away regardless of if selected for Sky Sports or not, although it is down to individual teams in the Championship to decide whether they want to offer access to away midweek matches as part of the 2020-21 season ticket package which must be purchased by 4 October 2020.
League One and Two clubs however won’t be allowed to make away games available for streaming across both weekend and midweek rounds within the season ticket package due to an agreement between EFL and Sky Sports.
EFL have stated that this arrangement will only be temporary and and will be regularly reviewed whilst following Government guidelines on admittance of fans back into football grounds, with the first review set for early October.
Speaking on the decision to allow clubs to ‘reward their most loyal supporters…’ with temporary access to watch matches, EFL Chief Executive, David Baldwin said; “There is no argument that attending live matches is what the League, its clubs and fans want to see and, clearly, the overriding objective is to get supporters back into stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, this framework allows our Clubs, if they so wish, to reward their most loyal supporters by providing what we hope is only short-term access to watch their matches.”
Baldwin also stated the importance of “… that whilst the doors remain fully or part shut, we ensure there is the ability for fans of all EFL Clubs to be able to gain access and watch their team…” whilst admitting that this is “not our preferred situation” and is hopefully a short-term measure whilst plans are finalised for fans to return.
EFL have also confirmed that three games will be televised live on Sky Sports on the opening weekend of 11-13 September 2020, with Watford hosting Middlesbrough in the opening match on Friday 11 September at 7:45pm BST.
Last season’s Championship Play-Off Final losers, Brentford will visit Birmingham City on Saturday 12 September at 12:30pm BST live in front of the Sky cameras as Aitor Karanka takes competitive charge of the Brummies for the first time.
Sky will then conclude their opening weekend EFL coverage at Portman Road as newly relegated Wigan visit Ipswich Town on Sunday 13 September in a 12:00pm BST kick off.