EFL Chair open to ending 3pm football blackout

14 Oct 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

EFL chair Rick Parry has announced that he is open to ending the 3pm blackout on football broadcasts in England.

The blackout ruling, which has been in place since the 1960s, currently prohibits live football from being shown in England between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays.

The argument traditionally put forward, as it was when the blackout was introduced, is that clubs in the EFL would see a dip in attendances if their matches clashed with a high-profile Premier League game.

UEFA allows any football association to choose any two- and half-hour time period to block live TV coverage, but only England, Scotland, and Montenegro currently impose it this ruling.

While it has generally been accepted without many issues, several fans were unhappy that they were unable to watch Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game back at Manchester United given that Manchester United’s fixture against Newcastle fell in between the blackout time frame.

However, any change to this restriction would have to wait until 2024, when the next rights cycles begin.

Speaking to PA, Parry said: “I don’t see (an end to the blackout) as being essential. Having said that, I don’t necessarily rule it out.” 

We are almost unique in Europe now in having a blackout period. I’m not presuming that it goes, but equally, if we’re looking at streaming, at new technologies and new broadcasters, we will probably have to be open-minded in terms of scheduling.”

And I know that at the EFL we will be looking at these things in any event. Our TV deal is up in 2024 and unusually we will be going ahead of the Premier League.”

Already our people are putting a lot of time and effort into studying developments looking at different potential strategies.”

The blackout was relaxed during the coronavirus pandemic, when fans were not able to attend games, but it was reimposed for the start of the 2021/22 season.