Premier League hopes fans can return for final two rounds of games

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Fans at Brighton against Chelsea

The Premier League plans to have fans in grounds at the final two rounds of matches this season, says chief executive Richard Masters.

Up to 10,000 supporters will be allowed into stadiums from Monday, 17 May provided the government is able to stick to its scheduled roadmap.

To maintain a competitive balance and ensure all 20 clubs get to play a home game with fans present, a round of fixtures will be shifted to 18-20 May.

The final round of games is on 23 May.

“Hopefully the final two fixtures of our season will have up to 10,000 supporters in them all,” said Masters.

“We’ve got to go past those first initial steps in the government’s roadmap to get there, so hopefully that will be a fantastic finale to end the season.”

The Premier League has two realistic options for the fixture shuffle.

One would be to shift the 36th round of games from Tuesday, 11 May and Wednesday, 12 May to the following week.

The other would be for those matches to be moved to the following weekend – which coincides with the FA Cup final on Saturday, 15 May – and the 37th round being nudged on by a few days to become a midweek round.

Supporters returning to grounds would be a positive end to what has been a tough period for the Premier League.

Masters said the absence of fans for what is going to be virtually a full season plus a quarter of the 2019-20 campaign – added to the rebate that had to be given to broadcasters due to last term’s late finish – is coming at a heavy cost.

“Towards the end of this season we’ll get towards £2bn lost since the start of the pandemic in matchday and broadcast revenue,” said Masters.

“Clubs have continued to invest in competitive match-day squads and the Premier League has continued to make good all of its contributions throughout the pyramid and wider football.

“But the ramifications are that ultimately if there’s less money coming into football, then there’ll be less money going out in the short term.”

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