Newcastle fans' pay-per-view protest raises £20,000 for food bank

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
Newcastle defend against Manchester United
Manchester United scored three late goals to secure victory at St James' Park

Newcastle United fans donated £20,000 to charity over the weekend in protest against the Premier League's controversial pay-per-view scheme.

The Magpies' 4-1 defeat by Manchester United on Saturday was one of several Premier League games only available live in the UK for a £14.95 fee.

It applies to the five fixtures in each round of games not televised in the UK.

The "Charity Not PPV" campaign asked fans to donate to the city's West End food bank rather than pay to watch.

Supporters from a number of other clubs who have featured in pay-per-view matches - including Aston Villa, Burnley, Leeds Unitedexternal-link and Manchester United - have also been raising thousands of pounds for local food banks.

On Monday, Clarets fans raised several thousand pounds for the "Burnley FC in the Community" campaign that has been running all season, while the "Leeds United Fans Food Bank" campaign had hundreds of donations before their club's pay-per-view match against Villa on Friday.

'The donations are really needed'

John McCorry, the chief executive of Newcastle's West End foodbank, said donations "will make a great difference".

He added: "We so appreciate the generosity of the Newcastle fans.

"We are feeding 1,000 people a week and use 10-plus tonnes of food every month, which costs £1,700 a tonne, so these donations are really needed.

"We have had donations from London, Spain and America, so it's not just locally that the interest has gathered. It really seems to have taken off."

In October, the five Premier League fixtures per round not shown live in the UK are available for pay-per-view on BT Sport Box Office or Sky Sports Box Office.

Clubs agreed the scheme as an "interim solution" with fans still not allowed into grounds because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it has been criticised.

The campaign set up by Newcastle fans has also been replicated by fans of Leeds United and Manchester City as an alternative to paying for pay-per-view matches.

McCorry also said the donations were welcome because they are unable to raise money from fans on match days.

Bill Corcoran of the NUFC Fans Food Bank group, who organised the campaign and normally collect money for the food bank on match days, said: "The most we have ever collected outside a game was £5,800 but the response has been from all over the world.

"Someone just suggested the idea on Twitter and we thought, 'that's great, let's do it'. Whoever recommended pay-per-view, pitched it wrong. If you're a season-ticket holder and already pay for games on TV, this was the metaphorical straw that broke the camel's back.

"Rather than paying into a multi-national media company, we are paying into a charity which helps starving people in the city. The solution was obvious and the fans have shown a great deal of kindness and generosity."

Newcastle fans are also still waiting to hear whether their season ticket costs will be refunded as a result of not being able to attend games.

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