BT Sport announce huge scheduling changes for teams in Champions League as Jurgen Klopp wins TV battle after moans

BT Sport announce huge scheduling changes for teams in Champions League as Jurgen Klopp wins TV battle after moans

MOANING Champions League managers have won their battle over Saturday lunchtime TV kick-offs.

Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were united in their complaints over being forced to play at 12.30pm on Saturdays after they had played on Wednesday nights in Europe.

Klopp had an angry confrontation with BT Sport’s Des Kelly after Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Brighton in November, describing the scheduling as “dangerous for players”.

James Milner, who had been depustising as Liverpool's right-back for the second-half at the Amex, was forced off late with a hamstring problem.

Klopp was then forced to turn to 19-year-old midfielder Curtis Jones with first-choice defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez all sidelined.

Both Guardiola and Solskjaer made similar complaints, accusing BT and the Prem of potentially warping the competition.

And as part of the newly-agreed “rollover” domestic TV deal that will earn Prem clubs around £1.7bn per year over the next four seasons, BT have now agreed to a slight tweak.

While the majority of the channel’s Saturday games will remain at 12.30pm, those matches featuring teams that have played Champions League football on the previous Wednesday will be switched to 7.45pm.

It comes on the same day Premier League chief confirmed agreement on a new £5.1billion TV deal.

The deal to 'rollover' the current contracts with Sky, BT, Amazon Prime and the BBC for a further three seasons was confirmed 'unanimously' at a virtual meeting of the 20 clubs.

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But as a condition to get Government approval to bypass the normal bidding process, the clubs agreed to give up £100million between them over the next four years – with the money spread throughout the football pyramid.

The deal means Sky will retain the lion’s share of live matches with 128 matches, BT showing 52 and Amazon Prime 20.

Prem chief executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League would like to express our gratitude to our broadcast partners for their continued commitment to the Premier League and support for the football pyramid.

“We are hugely appreciative of the Government agreeing in principle to allow this arrangement and for their continued support for the Premier League and the English game.

“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on football, and renewals with our UK broadcast partners will reduce uncertainty, generate stability and promote confidence within the football pyramid.

“We know that, once concluded, this will have a positive impact on the wider industry, jobs and tax revenues and will enable us to maintain and increase our existing solidarity and community financial commitments to the football pyramid for the next four years, even though we are yet to understand the full impact of the pandemic.

“It comes at an important time and will enable us to plan ahead with increased certainty against a more stable economic backdrop.”

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