Ever since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the world, sporting clubs have been facing unprecedented financial turmoil. In a recent interview, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said it is "absolutely critical" to allow fans back inside stadiums at the earliest.
He continued to say that failing to do so would eventually cost clubs £700 million during the 2020-21 season, which starts this Saturday. All matches have been played behind closed doors since football returned in June following the coronavirus lockdown.
As of now, no fans would be allowed to enter stadiums during top-flight matches in England at least before October. On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he will further "review" the plans to bring fans back into stadiums from October 1. His comments came in amid growing numbers of fresh COVID-19 cases.
According to BBC, Masters said that matches "can't go on forever" behind closed doors, as Premier League clubs have already lost over half a billion pounds due to the disruption caused during the final quarter of the 2019-20 season.
He said, "We need fans back inside stadiums for all sorts of reasons and it's the number one priority. 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. 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."
Masters also said that he is still hopeful that some fans could return to the stands starting next month, despite the rising coronavirus cases in the UK. Meanwhile, the government's new restriction states that no more than six people can gather in a place.
He further admitted that clubs "would have to adapt," given that "there will be bumps in the road." Masters also disclosed the three main objectives that the Premier League currently has in mind. They are eager to finish 380 matches on time this season. The other two objectives are to get fans back into stadiums as soon as possible and restoring the health of the Premier League's economy.