Kieran Maguire: Chelsea fans are victims of Premier League 'contempt' as £5bn talks advance
The Premier League has ‘very little concern’ for the welfare of Chelsea fans after scheduling them to play a Christmas Eve fixture.
That is the view of finance expert Kieran Maguire, who exclusively told Football Insider that the Premier League are trying to keep broadcasters ‘sweet’ while negotiating new terms for their television deal.
The London club are set to face Wolves in the first top-flight Christmas Eve fixture since 1995 after their clash was rescheduled earlier this month.
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust published a statement in response, calling the scheduling ‘totally unacceptable’.
As reported by The Mirror, Chelsea have since announced that they will provide free travel for fans who buy a ticket for the match at Molineux.
The current Premier League domestic TV deal – which is worth £5billion – is set to expire at the end of 2024/25, and talks are ongoing over the value of the next cycle.
The Premier League increased the amount of live televised games from 200 to 270 for the next cycle in an attempt to boost the value of the broadcast deal.
Maguire believes the Christmas Eve scheduling is indicative of the ‘contempt’ that the Premier League currently has for matchgoing fans.
“Broadcast revenue equates to 60 percent of all income for the Premier League,” Maguire told Football Insider’s Sean Fisher.
“Therefore, keeping the broadcasters sweet is essential for the Premier League, especially at a point in time when negotiations are taking place for the next cycle of domestic deals, which will be in place from 2024 onwards.
“So I think the Christmas Eve fixture is further evidence that as far as club owners and the Premier League as an institution is concerned, fans are there to be monetised, patronised and provide an atmospheric backdrop at matches.
“The interests and welfare of fans themselves are of very little concern to the Premier League.
“I think this is indicative of the contempt in which a key stakeholder to the game, football fans, are held by the decision-makers.“