Premier League clubs will meet next week to decide whether to continue to allow all their games to be televised live in the UK after making another full round of matches available.
Teams on Wednesday approved an extension of the current policy – although only until the international break – having previously reversed their decision to block fans watching 160 matches this season, most of which now looks set to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Clubs must now decide whether to continue to award further games to Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon and the BBC, find an alternative method of showing them or risk the wrath of fans by reimposing a blackout on more than 40 per cent of them.
Wednesday also saw the Premier League scrap 8.15pm kick-offs while the Government’s new 10pm curfew on pubs remains in force.
Tuesday’s announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson led to Liverpool’s clash with Arsenal being brought forward by 15 minutes, with the original kick-off time of 8.15pm risking those watching in bars potentially missing its climax.
That had prompted a backlash from fans on social media, with one user writing: “Looking forward to Liverpool and Arsenal fans getting booted out of the pub on Monday when the match is at 85 minutes.”
Fulham’s earlier showdown with Aston Villa was also brought forward by 15 minutes to 5.45pm to ensure there was no prospect of the two games overlapping.
It was unclear on Wednesday what the pub curfew, which begins on Thursday, would mean for Carabao Cup ties that could go to penalties.
On Thursday evening, Liverpool travel to Lincoln City and Manchester City host Bournemouth in 7.45pm kick-offs and The Daily Telegraph has been told the Prime Minister’s announcement came too late for the Carabao Cup third-round ties to be brought forward. The fourth round of the competition is played next week.
As well as the 10pm curfew, the hospitality sector is being restricted to table service only after the Government outlawed drinkers making a trip to the bar.
All customers in indoor hospitality settings will be required to wear masks – except when seated to eat or drink.