Manchester United will play at 3pm on a Saturday again when they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
It has been another turbulent week at United with Jadon Sancho now training away from the first team after his social media outburst after the last Premier League game against Arsenal a fortnight ago.
Viewers in the UK won’t be – legally – able to watch how they return to action, however, because of the television broadcast rules in place.
Champions Manchester City are also playing on Saturday afternoon with a trip to West Ham United with their game also not being shown live in the UK.
Here The Athletic explains the complex situation involving which matches can and cannot be shown.
Why are the Manchester United and Man City games not on television in the UK?
Viewers in the United Kingdom will join those in Cuba, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Afghanistan as the only people on the planet unable to legally watch Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United vs Manchester City on Saturday.
The Premier League streams pictures live to 189 countries across the globe, but neither of those two games were selected by rights holders Sky Sports, TNT Sports or Amazon in the UK.
They will therefore take place at 3pm BST on Saturday, which means they are subject to English football’s blackout rule.
What’s the blackout rule?
Article 48 of UEFA’s statutes allows member nations to select a two-and-a-half-hour weekend slot where live football is banned from screens.
Some reports suggest its origin dates back to the 1950s, but in England, the rule only emerged in 1987 when ITV struck a major television deal with the Football League.
Reacting to the proliferation of media agreements around the continent, Europe’s governing body wanted to protect attendances at stadiums and participation in grassroots games, so offered out the choice. The FA, in conjunction with broadcasters, decided that between 2.45pm and 5.15pm would be sacrosanct.
The regulation remains in place and even stops foreign matches from being shown live at that time in the UK.
In 2018, the FA and UEFA pushed back against one-time broadcaster Eleven Sports, who had shown two rounds of La Liga and Serie A games during the blackout slot. Eleven Sports reluctantly relented but called the rule “unfit for the modern, digital era”.
How the 3pm blackout works and why its days may be numbered
Will the blackout ever be lifted?
When the EFL — the three divisions below the Premier League — put out their tender document for their next round of television rights, they opened up the possibility of broadcasting every game.
DAZN, the sports streaming network, made a bid for the EFL rights that included scrapping the 3pm blackout.
The EFL eventually decided to go with existing rights holders Sky Sports. Sky Sports are increasing the number of games broadcast from the EFL every weekend, but are retaining the 3pm broadcast blackout.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters also has no plans to support a move to end the blackout.
In March, he said: “We’ve been proponents of Article 48 for the entire Premier League and I don’t see that changing in the near term.”
There would be potentially significant financial benefits, but it seems as though the blackout is here to stay.
Are the games on television in the US?
Just like every Premier League match, the two games will be broadcast in the US.
Both kick off at 10am ET on September 16.
Manchester United’s game with Brighton will be live on Peacock while Manchester City’s trip to West Ham will be on USA Network.
Which games are being shown in the UK this weekend?
The game between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool is on TNT Sports at 12.30pm BST on Saturday, with Newcastle United’s home game with Brentford on Sky Sports at 5.30pm BST.
On Sunday, September 17, Bournemouth host Chelsea at 2pm BST before Arsenal travel to Everton at 4pm BST.
Both games will be broadcast on Sky Sports.
Nottingham Forest’s home game with Burnley on Monday night is also being broadcast by Sky Sports. Kick-off is 7.45pm.
How ‘everything is going to change’ in the way we watch football in the UK
(Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)