Accrington chairman Andy Holt has slammed the English Football League’s decision to allow this weekend’s fixtures to be screened live in the UK and Ireland.
UEFA rules normally prohibit live screening of EFL games to the domestic market as clubs bid to maximise match-day revenue.
But UEFA’s ‘blocked hours’ rule does not apply during international breaks and Saturday’s Sky Bet League One and Two fixtures will be made available for live screening for the first time.
“Accrington Stanley majority shareholder Andy Holt is angry and dismayed at the English Football League’s decision to allow the streaming of three o’clock Saturday fixtures to the domestic market during the international break,” read a club statement.
“The EFL is there to represent its 72 member clubs, and Mr Holt feels that Article 48 of the UEFA statutes (dealing with the audio-visual and radio transmission regulations of national associations) was not discussed at the EFL summer conference in Portugal, with no debate taking place regarding any exceptions to the existing blackout on domestic coverage of Saturday afternoon fixtures.
“The issue was not made available for debate, and as a result the details within Article 48 were never brought to light.”
Holt has demanded an explanation from the EFL, claiming the governing body made the decision without proper consultation and has also called for all 72 member clubs to vote on the issue.
The statement added: “As a member club of the EFL, Accrington Stanley expects detailed information concerning any changes to rules that directly impact upon the club, and Mr Holt expects a full and proper debate followed by a vote on substantive issues such as this.”
In response, the EFL said the live screening of EFL games during international breaks would be reviewed after this weekend’s fixtures and clubs would be consulted.
“The EFL is very aware of the importance of protecting the live matchday experience, and will always champion supporters making their way through turnstiles as the best way to watch live football, but the option to stream is an added option for those fans who can’t make the game in person,” the EFL said.
“The EFL needs to understand the full value of the streaming opportunity to make informed decisions and the matches taking place tomorrow will help determine the future direction of travel so we can fully understand what games will be eligible for domestic streaming from 2019/20.
“The review will be shared and discussed with clubs, with a review assessing shared experiences and results for the period through to the end of October.”
Fans in the UK and Ireland will be able to watch their team live online on Saturday, with all remaining League One and League Two games available to stream via iFollow or each club’s equivalent streaming service, the EFL added.
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