Uefa have confirmed a key change which could allow Stoke City fans to watch their team’s 3pm Saturday kick-offs.
The 3pm blackout has been lifted for the rest of the season, allowing matched to be screened at that time on television and online.
The football season is currently on hold indefinitely due to the spread of coronavirus in the UK, and the lifting of the TV blackout which has covered the most popular Saturday kick-off time since 1950s will be seen as a strong indication that leagues are preparing for the prospect of returning behind closed doors.
The EFL and Premier League today confirmed an indefinite suspension from which the leagues will only return when it is ‘safe’ to do so having originally set April 30 as the date to resume.
It’s believed it could still be months before football does return, and even then, it is likely that teams will have to complete their schedules behind closed doors to finish the current campaign on time.
And Uefa are putting provisions in place for that, it seems, with the removal of the 3pm blackout, allowing rights holders like Sky Sports and BT Sport to show games at that time.
It could also be good news for Stoke City fans who are fearing missing out on their weekly does of the Potters.
The iFollow service is set to show all EFL games on a Saturday, much like it currently does with mid-week games, and all games to fans outside the UK.
The iFollow service is currently available for a subscription fee, and it remains to be seen, if games do go behind closed doors, whether fans will be asked to purchase each game, much like they would with tickets.
Uefa confirmed the removal of the blackout, saying: “Taking into account the current exceptional circumstances, Uefa has lifted the ‘blocked hours’ protection granted to the England and Scotland for the remainder of the 2019-20 season football season, following requests from the relevant national associations as a result of measures taken in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”