There have been few football reforms more universally unpopular than the introduction of pay-per-view broadcast Premier League games this season. Even VAR has its supporters.
But many Premier League fans left unhappy by the £14.95 charge placed on half of the fixtures played over the past month haven't simply opposed the scheme on social media – they've used it to organise and raise funds for charity.
People up and down the country have been hit by job losses and insecurity during coronavirus, and supporters have shown that it's not Marcus Rashford who has been doing brilliant work off the pitch. With food banks the main beneficiary, fans have raised over £300,000 in the last few weeks, using hashtags #BoycottPPV and #CharityNotPPV to share donation links and stories.
Money from the pay-per-view games goes to the clubs involved, rather than the broadcasters, and 19 Premier League clubs voted in favour of its introduction – with Leicester City being the exception. However, the blowback has led to speculation that the costs could soon be lowered, or see the idea scrapped altogether, with Sky Sports and BT Sport – which host the broadcasts – reportedly concerned about the reputational damage of their involvement.
The scheme will carry on until at least the weekend of November 6-8, after which there will be an international break. There is not yet confirmation of how the model will work after that.
Here, we've rounded up some of the good work being done by supporters instead of paying to watch their team play – and links if you want to donate too:
The Gunners played Leicester in a Sunday night game, with Arsenal Supporters' Trust calling for donations instead to Islington Cares, a local charity working to address inequality and poverty in Islington.
AST continues campaign against £14.95 pay per view charge ahead of Leicester game - creates opportunity for fans to boycott and make donation to Islington Cares instead. To donate: https://t.co/JiZuYpKXmD More AST update here https://t.co/29F1w796hP pic.twitter.com/1Otz96seeSOctober 21, 2020
Fans have also been raising money for Islington Food Bank.
Aston Villa have already had a couple of games on pay-per-view – against Leeds and Leicester – and face Southampton on Sky Sports Box Office again this weekend. Supporters who wanted to watch them all would have had to cough up almost £45.
Comments left on the Aston and Nechells Food Bank donation page indicate just how many fans have put in money to charity rather than watch those games: "A more worthy use of PPV money", "Gifting my PPV so it can be better used. UTV", "#CharityNotPPV Had no intention of purchasing any of the PPV matches on principle but this is an excellent idea. #AVFC #VTID"... The list goes on.
Thanks to the @BrightonIndy for giving the #BoycottPPV campaign some publicity 🙌If you can afford to, please give the £15 Sky want you to pay to watch Brighton v West Brom on Monday to the @BtnFoodBank Bank or your local food bank instead 🙏 #BHAFC https://t.co/7HoNRlANmcOctober 22, 2020
Brighton faced West Brom on pay-per-view last week, with Seagulls fans instead giving money to Brighton Food Bank.
Well done Clarets. Our posts, and those of fellow Clarets as well, including the many shares, have meant over £4000 (wow!!) has been raised so far for the food bank since we posted on Facebook on Sunday. Thank you. #Twitterclarets @AlexJamesSport Worth an article? pic.twitter.com/kGUKwv4hEAOctober 20, 2020
Burnley were one of the first games to be shown as pay-per-view, with their match against West Brom given a graveyard Monday, 5.30pm slot.
But Clarets quickly raised hundreds of pounds for the club's charity programme, which works with food banks in east Lancashire. The donation page makes clear why many donations were being made: many contributions were left with comments that simply read "PPV".
For over 3 years we’ve supported @hffoodbank with collections at many of our home games.Our absence doesn’t mean that #CFC fans can’t continue to make a difference.On Saturday we’d love for you to join us in donating £14.95 to them. #BoycottPPV https://t.co/lPK2Sj7NpnOctober 25, 2020
As kick off nears there is still time to donate to our charity foodbank appeal with @foodbankNorwood which has been running since June - putting our local community above the greed of the TV broadcasters and @premierleague Text Dinner £5 - 70085weblink: https://t.co/WZgEXAv36Q pic.twitter.com/xEbzhT5BkSOctober 24, 2020
Everton and Liverpool
Everton and Liverpool fans have already joined forces through the Fans Supporting Foodbanks initiative long before pay-per-view games reared its head. Not only have they been raising money for the games Merseyside clubs have on box office channels, but they have also been using their account to promote work being done by fans of other sides too.
Astonishingly, they alone have raised over £100,000 from the boycott alone.
We never ever imagined that our #BoycottPPV Fundraising would reach the figure it did, £128,000 is an unbelievable amount. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts 💕 As promised we will randomly draw out the winner of @TrentAA signed shirt at 5.00pmhttps://t.co/nIHpiOZWz8 pic.twitter.com/u6HJqCtGbxOctober 28, 2020
Cottagers have been donating to the local food bank, while fan podcast Fulhamish have put together a handy thread of various charitable fundraisers supporters have been carrying out
If you'd rather give your £14.95 to charity today rather than PPV, here are some Fulham fans doing amazing fundraising at the moment 👇[THREAD]October 18, 2020
Leeds United Supporters Trust organised their own food bank donation page – and have raised an incredible £90,000.
And here’s the link https://t.co/UeGntCovKXOctober 18, 2020
Leicester fans have been organising around a number of charities, including food banks, cancer charities, and those that support children with disabilities.
Thank you so much to the Foxes fans donating to us today! We are so grateful. If you can afford it you can donate your £14.95 or any other amount to https://t.co/atvZn7uB0G #BoycottPPV #foodbank #LCFC https://t.co/dxuDqzubV0October 25, 2020
Manchester City and Manchester United
Marcus Rashford isn't the only one doing Manchester proud. Mancunians have teamed up across the divide to collegiately raise money for food banks in Greater Manchester – raising over £27,000 at the time of writing.
Plenty of Foodbank donations coming in today from those boycotting the PPV matches. If you'd prefer to donate the £15 fee (or whatever amount) to the joint appeal from @mufcfoodbank and @MCFCfoodbank you can do that here:https://t.co/TtIZeAZp5q#MUFC #MCFC pic.twitter.com/nO1RbyDm3KOctober 17, 2020
Newcastle's game with Manchester United was the first game to be shown as pay-per-view, and fans were quick to come up with a fundraising idea attached to the £14.95 boycott.
The NUFC Food Bank Twitter account has also been promoting similar campaigns at other clubs, as well Marcus Rashford's own campaign to provide food for children who need it – despite his 96th-minute goal at St James's. Well in, Magpies.
Today’s #CharityNotPPV Alternatives As @OfficialBHAFC take on @WBA in the 5.30pm KO:@WeAreBrighton are donating to the @BtnFoodBank #Seagulls https://t.co/[email protected] are donating to the @SmethwickFoodba nk #WBA https://t.co/3errZutkSA Local Need Not PL Greed pic.twitter.com/aHe4U0FvwYOctober 26, 2020
Blades fans have been raising money for a Sheffield hospice and, with their first box office game coming against Liverpool, have also been supporting the Merseyside-based Fans Supporting Foodbanks campaign.
Football fans who don't want to pay £14.95 PPV for @premierleague games - why not give the money instead to make someone elses live tangibly better in a time of need. @StLukes_Sheff #twitterblades #BoycottPPV #JustGiving https://t.co/Evfdt5Dt73October 20, 2020
Southampton fans have been sending their money to two places: the club's own Saints Foundation Community Support charity, and Southampton City Mission, which supports local food banks.
With the strong likelihood of TWO £14.95 #PPV @premierleague back to back #Spurs games at the start of November, we ask fans to consider donating to @TottFoodbank in lieu of those fees. Over £23k raised by #Spurs fans so far. Incredible 👏🏻https://t.co/Yi8hrqd2nJOctober 29, 2020
Baggies fans have set up a WBA-specific fundraiser for Smethwick Food Bank.
Thanks Adie 👏⚒ #RightToFood https://t.co/m8mEs5TQx2October 26, 2020
Hammers are supporting Newham food banks and organising fans for volunteering through Irons Supporting Foodbanks.
#wwfc fans.Support Wolverhampton's foodbank and boycott PPV. #CharityNotPPV Instead of lining the pockets of the PL & their broadcast partners, lets donate to our local foodbackI've set up an initiative where you can donate. 👇Please Like/Share:https://t.co/XNNQsn22dOOctober 20, 2020
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