Gary Lineker on how absence of crowd changes the Premier League

The Match of the Day host said that he much prefers watching matches with artificial fan noise than without.

Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker has spoken about how the lack of fans changes football, ahead of the BBC’s first ever live broadcast of Premier League fixtures tomorrow.

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Speaking to Zoe Ball on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show this morning, Match of the Day host Lineker said that the lack of crowds can have a real effect on players.

“Yes it does, it does,” the former England internal said when asked if it had an impact. “There are some interesting effects of this.

“One is that it seems to get rid of any home advantage ‘cause you’ve got that home crowd pulling you on. So far, all the Leagues that have started I think there’s been more away wins than home wins.

“The other thing that I think is quite interesting is that obviously behaviourally the players are different on the pitch and… there’s almost 10 minutes a game extra play which means balls in time… The games so far, there’s been 70 minutes of action.”

And Lineker confirmed that BBC One’s coverage, like that on Sky Sports, will have artificial crowd noise piped in – although there will be an option to watch without it on the Red Button.

And he believes that the crowd noise will prove popular with the fans, claiming that the vast majority of people who took part in a poll he held on Twitter said they were in favour,

“I’ve watched quite a bit with both and I much prefer it with,” he said. “And actually 75 per cent of the people who polled – and I think it was about 170,000 people actually replied to the tweet – preferred it with.”

The BBC’s coverage kicks off with Bournemouth v Crystal Palace and Lineker is looking forward to the coverage.

“It is historic,” he said, “the first game to be shown live on terrestrial television since the inception of the Premier League which was obviously ’93.”

For the full breakdown of what games are coming up check out our Premier League fixtures on TV guide.

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