Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has admitted that while nobody knows when fans will be allowed back into stadiums again, the Premier League hopes that it will be from next season. The English top tier are set to resume action by June 17 with games to be played behind closed doors.
Football in England, for the most part, has been on lockdown since mid-March after they confirmed their first case of the COVID-19 virus. However, while at one stage it looked like the season was never going to resume, things have slowly yet steadily returned to a level close to normal again. It has seen the Bundesliga resume action behind closed doors with the Serie A, La Liga and Premier League also hopeful that their seasons will resume by mid-June.
However, the biggest issue in the Premier League aside from playing at neutral venues has been the fact that no fans will be allowed for the remainder of the 2019/20 season. That has caused a few problems despite the situation the world finds itself in but the bigger question is what happens to the fans from next season. But not even Richard Masters has the answers to that as the Premier League’s chief executive confirmed that nobody knows when “matches will move away from the behind-closed-doors model”.
"No one knows when matches will move away from the behind-closed-doors model and it is right to have contingency plans in place, but there is optimism at the Premier League and at clubs that we will see fans back in the stadiums next season and it may happen on a phased basis. Of course [next season] has been discussed but we are dealing with the issues of the 2019/20 season as a priority. We will come onto the issue of a start date for next season when we have assurances about when we can finish,” Masters told Sky Sports
The coronavirus has caused a lot of problems on a global scale but it has also acted as a catalyst for financial problems across the footballing world. It has forced the Bundesliga’s return and it has also caused serious monetary issues across the English football pyramid with many within the EFL on the verge of bankruptcy. That has seen fans and owners ask the Premier League to help the EFL but Masters admitted that anything beyond what they’ve already given the EFL won’t be possible because of the league's own financial situation.
"At the moment, we are dealing with our own financial situation. Until we are able to get back playing - until we have a clear plan to start season 2021, we are dealing with our own financial situation. So at the moment, we have made good all of our solidarity contributions to the pyramid for 2019/20 and indeed we have forwarded a big chunk of next year's revenue forward and we're committed to completing that.
"But I think what we have to get ourselves into is a situation where we are sure of the Premier League's financial situation at a time when clubs are suffering significant revenue before we can turn to that topic,” he added.
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