Premier League chief pleads for re-think of stadium fan ban

LONDON (AFP) – Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters has pleaded with the government to re-think its stadium supporter ban, calling for football to be treated “fairly”.

Matches at the end of last season in the English top-flight and the beginning of the new campaign have been played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus crisis.

Plans to pilot a limited return of fans from October 1 were shelved last month due to tighter lockdown measures following a surge in cases of COVID-19 in Britain.

Masters told The Times newspaper that he welcomed the return of audiences to concert venues but said football stadiums should be included.

“It’s good news that (concert) venues can run socially distanced events indoors, it gives them a lifeline,” he said. “We are starting to see the return of the paying spectator at a ticketed event and we just believe that football should be allowed to do the same.

“We do understand why caution is needed but what we are asking for is consistency from government so that sport is treated as fairly as other activities.

“We have the Sports Grounds Safety Authority in place to ensure that supporters are safe at all times and we’re outdoors in a highly stewarded environment. What we really need is clarity for our clubs and supporters and a road map from government.”