Premier League hopes to welcome fans back THIS season but 'confident' stadiums will be roaring again next year

PREMIER LEAGUE chief executive Richard Masters has not given up on seeing fans back in stadiums this season.

And the footy big-wig is confident supporters will fill grounds again next campaign.


Small numbers of fans were briefly allowed back in grounds in December but after a steep spike in coronavirus cases in the UK, matches were forced back behind closed doors.

However, Masters was upbeat about the prospect of the public being allowed back in.

Speaking during the Financial Times' Business of Football summit on Thursday, he said: "The economic‌ ‌cost‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Premier League clubs and the whole‌ ‌of‌ ‌football‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌significant‌ ‌and‌ ‌hard‌ ‌to‌ ‌deal‌ ‌with‌. ‌

“Clubs‌ ‌have‌ ‌stepped‌ ‌up‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌way‌ ‌in‌ ‌terms‌ ‌of‌ ‌reinvesting‌ ‌in‌ ‌their‌ ‌squads‌ ‌and‌ ‌getting‌ ‌on‌ with‌ ‌it‌ generally. ‌

“What’s been missing is the fans.

"We’re getting‌ ‌used‌ ‌to‌ ‌watching‌ ‌live football on television without‌ ‌fans‌ ‌in the stadium but‌ ‌I don’t‌ ‌want‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌used‌ ‌to‌ ‌that‌ ‌too‌ ‌much‌ ‌longer‌.

“Hopefully we will see an end to that and the return of supporters as soon as possible. ‌

“I do feel confident we will have fans back for next season.

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"I hope it opens up quickly and that we can work with the Government and get fans back in the stadiums in real numbers and get back to the real Premier League.”

Covid infections are still rising in 16 areas in England.

But official data from Public Health England (PHE) states cases have fallen in 95 per cent of areas (298).

The latest data from PHE comes as a major study revealed that infections have dropped two thirds since January.

Scientists hailed the plummeting cases as 'really encouraging' on Wednesday, but warned pressure on hospitals must ease before we unlock the country.

Britain’s biggest virus infection survey found the R rate is down to 0.7, even as low as 0.6 in London.

The React study, by Imperial College London, carried out swab tests on 85,000 people across England between February 6 and 13.

They revealed all regions of England have seen a fall in cases – with London, the South East and West Midlands seeing the biggest dip.

Around 52 people per 10,000 are testing positive for the virus now, which is similar to the rates we saw in September last year.

Infections are halving every 15 days – which is good news for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he gets ready to reveal the roadmap to get us out of lockdown.

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