Football fans from all 20 Premier League clubs have pledged tens of thousands of pounds in the Charity not PPV campaign to donate to food banks and other charities in defiance of new charges introduced by League bosses.
Fans have said the new £14.95 pay-per-view fee to watch matches — charged on top of expensive TV subscription costs — is “taking away a sense of community” at a time when people need something to look forward to.
The Charity Not PPV campaign is urging fans to donate to those in need rather than paying the charge and is already on target to raise £200,000.
Many clubs are donating to food banks, but some have pledged their support to hospices and other organisations helping the vulnerable.
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Organisers said the campaign had “snowballed beyond our wildest dreams” thanks to a “phenomenal” effort from fans.
In a time of crisis & struggle for so many, football fans should not be asked to pay extortionate fees to watch their teams. #BoycottPPV
— NUFC Fans Food Bank (@nufcfoodbank) October 22, 2020
Kerry Lenihan, a Villa fan and one of the main organisers of the campaign, told the Big Issue: “At a time when the country is already on its knees, people need something to look forward to.
“Being told that they’ve got to pay again for something they’re already paying for is not the right way to go about it.
“Football should be about bringing people together at tough time, adding an extra pay barrier to that is taking away a sense of community.”
— Kerry Lenihan 💚🙏 (@kerrylynn21) October 20, 2020
Newcastle United have been seen as the main driving force behind the Charity Not PPV campaign.
Stuart Latimer, from NUFC Fans Food Bank, credits the idea to Newcastle fan account Toon Polls.
He told The Big Issue that the reaction from other clubs had been “absolutely phenomenal”.
He said: “It has snowballed beyond our wildest dreams. Spurs fans gave £77,000 to their food bank yesterday, it shows the generosity of the people in a hard time.”
We were given a challenge – you accepted:
— LUFC Trust (@lufctrust) October 22, 2020
Latimer added that he hoped it would be enough to force the Premier League to scrap the new charges.
He added: “The fans have spoken, they’ve said enough is enough. People already pay for subscriptions on Sky, BT, Amazon, and season tickets.
“This is just a step too far, I hope they get the message as quickly as possible. Watching football was one of the things people could do during the lockdown, that’s why it is so wrong for the Premier League to bring this new charge in.
“It was one of the few distractions that allowed people to relax and forget about the world for a while.
“They’ve robbed people of that, particularly elderly people that might live alone and not have any other form of entertainment. I hope they will do the right thing.”
Football and charity are overlapping in other quarters as well. England footballer Marcus Rashford is continuing to front the end child food poverty campaign, which has garnered support from local cafes and restaurants all over the country.
Many small businesses have said they will take it upon themselves to help feed children over the October half term.
On Wednesday, MPs shot down his appeal to extend the free school meal programme.
The 22-year-old responded by calling on MPs to put aside party politics and stressed that “a significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter”.
Fans can support campaigns from their Premier League club on the following links:
Image credit: Vegas Eddie/Flickr