Getty Images Jarrad Branthwaite of Everton (right) and Kai Havertz of Arsenal during the Premier League match Getty Images

The Liberal Democrats are pledging to make 10 English Premier League football matches per season free to watch on TV for everyone, if they win the election.

The party said the promise was in response to rising ticket prices and streaming subscription costs.

The Lib Dems said fans who wanted to watch games on TV may have to pay hundreds of pounds per year as games are split across different subscription streaming platforms including Sky Sports, TNT Sports and Amazon Prime Video.

But it is likely any change to existing arrangements would be subject to intense opposition from the Premier League and paid-for streaming platforms.

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The Lib Dems said its manifesto would promise to put 10 Premier League games back on free-to-air channels like the BBC and ITV, as well as 10 games from the Scottish Championship and 20 games from the English Football League, such as the Championship.

The party told the BBC to implement their plans they would amend the Broadcasting Act 1996, which gives the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport the power to draw up a list of sporting events which are in the “national interest”.

Broadcast rights to these events must be offered to the main free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters on “fair and reasonable terms”.

This would require the majority of MPs to back a change to the law.

However, in practice lobbying from the Premier League and streaming companies would be likely to sway any political debate on this issue.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The Conservative government has completely failed football fans, from breaking their promise to create a football regulator, to allowing greedy broadcasters to hide Premier League football away from millions.

“We need to tear down the paywall and give Premier League football back to the country. It is a scandal that the country is locked out of watching the best teams.”

Plans to set up an independent football regulator, which would have the power to sanction clubs who break financial rules, were dropped after the surprise election announcement as there was not time to pass the new law.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The Liberal Democrats are just making things up at this point. They can’t force TV companies to reduce subscription prices, or football clubs to make tickets cheaper, and the government remains committed to delivering the Independent Football Regulator.

“This is sad, desperate stuff from a party that people are struggling to take seriously.”

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.



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