Richard Masters: Premier League focus is on finishing season behind closed doors

Malik Ouzia
·1 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says he is “hopeful” that fans will be back in stadiums by the start of next season, but admits the focus is on completing the current campaign behind closed doors.

Fans have been shut out of the majority of Premier League games since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown began in March last year.

The exception was a brief period before Christmas, when clubs in areas under less severe coronavirus restrictions welcomed up to 2,000 fans, but the relief was short-lived as cases surged and England was eventually sent into a third national lockdown.

With vaccine rollout well underway, Government figures have repeatedly suggested that some form of normal life may return in the spring.

But with outbreaks at clubs now regularly causing disruption to Premier League scheduling and elite sport’s exemption under increasing scrutiny, Masters admits simply getting all fixtures played is the priority.

“Well, we had [fans] back in small numbers before Christmas and it was great to have that, it was a real boost to the game,” he told the BBC.

“Obviously, the national situation has changed. Looking forward, when you think about next season, I feel hopeful and optimistic we’ll have fans back at the start of next season. If it happens before then, we’ll be ready.

“All our focus now is on completing the season and making sure that matches take place behind closed doors. If fans can come back we’ll be ready.”

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