In another unprecedented step necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak, UK TV stations will be able to televise football live at 3pm on Saturdays, after UEFA lifted the 'blocked hours' protection for the remainder of the season.
Broadcasters have been banned from televising matches at the traditional kick-off time since the 1950s, initially implemented to encourage amateur players to take part in matches on Saturday afternoons.
It has since become something of a failsafe to encourage fans to attend matches rather than stay home and watch football on the TV. However, as the coronavirus continues to grip the sport, The Times report that blackout has been lifted until the end of the season.
Exclusive- Saturday 3pm blackout lifted for rest of season opening way for matches behind closed doors https://t.co/dbEm88az4U— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) April 3, 2020
The newspaper reports that the UEFA regulation banning broadcasters in England, Scotland and Montenegro has been updated, and now reads:
The Premier League’s overriding priority is to aid the health and wellbeing of the nation and our communities. The 2019/20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so.— Premier League (@premierleague) April 3, 2020
Full statement: https://t.co/Tv9Leq4GGp#WeAreOneTeam pic.twitter.com/XPLQ7ls422
The temporary easing of broadcasting restrictions means that fans who would have gone to games will not necessarily miss out on watching their team play on Saturday afternoons.