EFL chair Rick Parry does not rule out end to Saturday afternoon blackout in future TV deal
EFL chair Rick Parry has not ruled out an end to the Saturday afternoon blackout in any future television deal.
Televised games are not permitted between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays in the UK.
The block, which associations are allowed to impose under Article 48 of UEFA regulations, dates back to the 1960s and is designed to protect live attendance at matches throughout the football pyramid.
It was temporarily lifted when spectators were barred from stadia due to the coronavirus pandemic but restored for the current season, meaning games such as Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut for Manchester United could not be screened live to a UK audience.
Parry wants EFL rights to be sold alongside the Premier League in return for his competition securing 25 per cent of all revenue, arguing that rebalancing would help remove the “cliff edge” which exists between the top flight and the Championship.
As part of that, he concedes creativity and a new approach over kick-off times might be needed, and says the EFL will look at all options even if its next TV deal is brokered without the Premier League.
He told the PA news agency: “I don’t see (an end to the blackout) as being essential. Having said that, I don’t necessarily rule it out.
“We are almost unique in Europe now in having a blackout period. I’m not presuming that it goes, but equally, if we’re looking at streaming, at new technologies and new broadcasters, we will probably have to be open-minded in terms of scheduling.
“And I know that at the EFL we will be looking at these things in any event. Our TV deal is up in 2024 and unusually we will be going ahead of the Premier League.
“Already our people are putting a lot of time and effort into studying developments looking at different potential strategies,” added the EFL chief.
The revenue split Parry is seeking was one of the key proposals contained within the hugely-controversial Project Big Picture plans, details of which were first published by the Telegraph exactly a year ago.
They sparked huge controversy at the time.