It Is Absolutely Critical Fans Return – Premier League Chief

It Is Absolutely Critical Fans Return - Premier League Chief

Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive says it is “absolutely critical” to get fans back to stadiums as quickly as possible.

Following the return of football in June after the coronavirus lockdown, matches have had to be played behind closed doors.

The premier league chief now indicates that playing the game behind closed doors for a long period would cost clubs £700m during the 2020-21 season, which begins on Saturday.

As things stand right about now, fans will not be allowed to see top-flight matches at stadiums in England before October.

in an interview with BBC Sports, Richard Masters said: “We have to get back to fans inside stadia as quickly as possible – that’s the big thing that’s missing, economic or otherwise – we need fans back inside stadiums for all sorts of reasons and it’s the number one priority.”

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He also stated that clubs “would have to adapt” because “there will be bumps in the road”.

“It doesn’t lower our ambitions – it just means that we’ll have to adapt – it’s one thing we’ve shown over recent months, we’re able to adapt to the situation,” Masters said.

“We wait to see what impact it has on the government’s testing programme, and permissions it’s going to give, and also on that crucial 1 October date. We wait to see what the government decides and we’ll remain in dialogue with them throughout.

“We always knew September was going to be a difficult month at the start of the return to normality the government was talking about, and so we should anticipate bumps in the road.”

Masters said the Premier League has three main objectives – the “big challenge” of ensuring 380 matches finish on time this season, getting fans back into full stadia, and returning the Premier League economy to full health.

Premier League revenue was down £700m in the final quarter of last season.

“It’s not just the loss of matchday revenue,” he said. “Every Premier League match on average generates about £20m for the economy both local and national so we want to play our part in helping the economy to recover as well.

“I think perhaps there is a perception the Premier League economy can withstand just about anything, but if you do lose £700m out of a planned budget it’s going to affect things and clubs have had to make some very difficult decisions.

“That is why it is important we focus on those three key objectives and obviously everyone hopes that from next season we can return to full normality, but it’s a huge challenge going forward.

“Financial issues are very real, they’re there, economic uncertainty is in front of us, and we just have to have a clear plan and stick to it.”

The Premier League begins on the 12th of September with Arsenal going to Craven Cottage to play on newly-promoted Fulham.


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