Premier League matches are set to be shown live on the BBC for the first time ever as league bosses draw up plans to show all remaining 92 games on television.
The 20 Premier League clubs have held extension talks over how to restart the campaign though there have been disagreements over a number of issues, with the bottom six sides all wanting relegation to be scrapped – something the FA will not sanction.
Another sticking point was the notion of playing at neutral venues, a plan that was shelved with clubs given the green light to play their remaining games at their stadiums behind closed doors.
Given the absence of fans at games, The Times report that the government are now pushing to see some matches shown on free-to-air television as a compromise for no longer insisting on neutral grounds.
Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live
Prime Minister Boris Johnson underlined the need for sport to return and boost the nation’s morale – though some players have not taken too kindly to that sentiment – and want matches to be as accessible as possible.
The BBC has never previously shown an English top-flight match live, despite Match of the Day being a staple of football culture in the country on a Saturday night.
As things stand, 47 matches had already been allocated for TV coverage before the league was suspended leaving 45 to be divvied up.
Main rights holders Sky and BT Sport will both get a large chunk of those matches, though they will be asked to make some of them available to non-subscribers of the channels – something they may do via their respective YouTube channels.
The current plans would see 32 games go to Sky and eight to BT Sport, leaving five to be split between the BBC and Amazon Prime – who showed two gameweeks earlier in the season.
Another option being explored according to The Times’ report is to give the BBC extra highlights packages for matches.
The Premier League will outline their timetable plans at a meeting with clubs next week, with the intention to host a bonanza of football every weekend – starting on Friday night and finishing on Monday night – with every game staggered over Saturday and Sunday.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.