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Masters: It's fantastic to have fans back

23 May 2021

Premier League Chief Executive hopeful of stadiums being full for the start of next season

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters has welcomed the return of fans to Premier League stadiums and is hopeful the start of next season will have grounds full of supporters once more. 

Speaking from Etihad Stadium, where he will help present the Premier League Trophy to the champions Manchester City, Masters said the absence of fans in the Premier League until midweek as a result of the pandemic was one of the biggest challenges of an "amazingly competitive and also chaotic season".

"It's just brilliant we've got 10,000 City fans in today to see the team, see the Trophy being lifted, and bringing some atmosphere back to Premier League matches," Masters said. "I was at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night and it felt full. 

"Watching other matches on television, this is what we've been missing, and it is fantastic.

"If all goes to plan - and obviously we're still at the mercy of the virus - all the noises coming out of government are supportive of full stadiums from the start of next season, always with the usual safety caveats.

"So we're very hopeful that we can return to normal from the start of next season and keep everything crossed will be doing everything we can to make that the case."

'Strength of Premier League'

While the focus is on the final Matchweek of the Premier League season, Masters is also looking forward to the UEFA Champions League final on 29 May, when Man City will face Chelsea, and to the mix of domestic and global talent that will be on display in Porto.

"It’s the second time in three years we've had two Premier League teams in the Champions League final," he said. "It shows the strength of the Premier League, I guess, and the competitive nature of it.

"What's most pleasing is that you can see so many young English players now playing their part in the Premier League.

"We had 42 per cent English-qualified players starting in the last match round. And you're going to see gracing the Champions League final Mason Mount, Reece James, Phil Foden, who all came through the Academy system 10 years after the start of the Elite Player Performance Programme and all the investments made by clubs in that.

"So it's a really good sign that the Premier League is both a mix of the best players from around the world but also really strong English talent."

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