Lib Dem election pledge to tackle high price of football on TV

Sir Ed Davey has pledged to tackle high stadium ticket and TV subscription prices with a plan for free-to-air Premier League games, if his party is able to form a government.

The Liberal Democrats have set out a new manifesto pledge for 10 Premier League games a season available to watch on free-to-air TV.

Party analysts have looked at prices across several subscription services and have claimed that football fans face paying almost £880 for a 10-month season, if they want to pay for all the services.

“We need to tear down the paywall and give Premier League football back to the country,” Sir Ed said in a statement.

The party leader accused broadcasters and Premier League clubs of being “money-grabbing”.

He added: “The next generation of fans and players are unable to watch the likes of Foden, Saka and Palmer. That is a tragedy for the sport.”

Sir Ed also said: “The Conservative government has completely failed football fans, from breaking their promise to create a football regulator, to allowing greedy broadcasters to hide Premier League football away from millions.”

The Government had plans for a new Independent Football Regulator (IFR) through the Football Governance Bill, which did not clear all the hurdles it needed to become law before the dissolution of Parliament, ahead of the General Election on Thursday July 4.

The legislation in its early draft form would have set new “corporate governance” goalposts for football clubs, given the IFR powers to intervene in the distribution of broadcast revenue, and created “enhanced financial regulation to improve the financial resilience of clubs across the football pyramid, ensuring that clubs take sensible financial decisions”, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The Liberal Democrats are just making things up at this point. They can’t force TV companies to reduce subscription prices, or football clubs to make tickets cheaper, and the Government remains committed to delivering the Independent Football Regulator. This is sad, desperate stuff from a party that people are struggling to take seriously.

“This is just a classic example of the Liberal Democrats sniping from the sidelines without putting forward a proper plan. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for Keir Starmer as Prime Minister and a Labour Party who will just resort to raising taxes for hard-working households by £2,094 to pay for their unfunded spending black hole.”