Richard Masters wants to know where football stands as crowd ban continues

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says clubs have been hit by a “quadruple whammy” over the continued implications of the Government’s ban on fans at elite sports events.

Plans to pilot a limited return from October 1 were shelved at the end of last month due to stricter lockdown measures in the wake of a surge in coronavirus cases.

But Masters has reiterated his belief that the current rules are unfair – not least because of the associated expectation that top-flight clubs will help bail out their EFL counterparts.

Middlesbrough v AFC Bournemouth – Sky Bet Championship – Riverside Stadium
Pilot events to allow fans back into stadiums were shelved last month (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Some entertainment venues are also shaping up for a return and Masters is unsure where football currently stands.

He told The Times: “The clubs feel they have been hit with a quadruple whammy — firstly that the optimism of October 1 has been taken away; secondly that there will be a sports bailout but that it wouldn’t include football; thirdly that the Premier League will be expected to secure the future of the EFL while dealing with the implications of having no fans until possibly March; finally the opening up of entertainment arenas within sometimes a couple of miles of football grounds without any road map for the return of football supporters.”

Masters cited the example of the Bundesliga – which has allowed some fans back depending on local virus rates – as one clubs could potentially follow.

“The Government is managing the country around local conditions so we have to be flexible in that respect,” added Masters.

“We have been in regular conversation with our German counterparts and we are aware of how it’s working and how it is not working for some clubs where the numbers are higher.

“Like everything, you have to start somewhere and just to do it would be fantastic. Football needs its voice back, we need fans back in the stadiums to provide that missing ingredient.

“Having fans back, even if it is not exclusively across the league, has given German football a massive boost.”

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