Sheffield United: 'Some owners will be licking their lips at this idea,' admits Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom, the Sheffield United manager, suspects some owners will be “licking their lips” at the prospect of their clubs being able to screen matches live on a Saturday afternoon despite knowing it will “handicap” other teams further down the pyramid, including those at grassroots level.
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Sheffield United: Paul Heckingbottom on the 3pm blackout and The Blades' positio...

The English Football League has announced it could consider abolishing the ban on 3pm fixtures being broadcast on television as it prepares to begin selling its latest rights package for the 2024/25 season.

Although Heckingbottom is thought to privately harbour reservations about the idea - “From a personal point of view, I’m a traditionalist” - he admitted many people within the sport do not hold the same view.

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“In reality it’s going to be defined by the TV deal with the EFL,” he said. “I don’t know the ins and outs of financially running a club. If I did, then I’d be fighting for it probably. Some owners will be licking their lips. If the EFL don’t get the deal they want, we know what makes the world go round.”

Supporters of maintaining the status-quo argue many sides, including those operating at non-league level, would see attendances drop if it is abandoned.

“You want as many at the games as possible,” added Heckingbottom, whose squad enters tomorrow’s game against Blackpool on top of the Championship. “If the EFL don’t get the deal they want and the debate gets opened up, we’ll see. But does it handicap the clubs that have great marketing while others will say they haven’t been able to maximise their potential.”