Premier League Clubs Hope To Have Fans Back For Next Season
Fans could return in time for the beginning of the next season, with Premier League clubs 'aiming' to have up to 50% of their capacity in the grounds.
The Premier League has been rather different without fans but some could return as early as September 12th, which would likely be the start of the new season.
A report in the Times claims that clubs and government officials are already in talks over the return of fans, with between 30 and 50% of capacity being allowed in each ground, although all fans would have to wear masks.
Grounds would open up to three hours before kick off to get everyone inside, amidst the idea that they would have to be temperature checked before entering.
As well as all Premier League grounds being open for fans it's likely to also means crowd returning to Football League grounds, as well as rugby union, rugby league and cricket.
Clubs are hoping they'll be allowed as much as 50%, rather than the lower end of the scale, and it could make a huge difference to clubs' finances.
One source told the paper, "It's easy to get a decision if you are happy with a small crowd that incurs all the costs but attracts a small fraction of the revenue. It's harder if you want to at least break even."
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Other issues around the return will include which fans, especially when it comes to season ticket holders, will be get the chance to go to the games and whether it'll be decided on a rota basis or by ballot.
Whilst people from the same household would currently be able to sit with each other during matches it would mean fans who pass on tickets could not sit together, under the current social distancing regulations, and could see crowds looking like the socially distanced ones in Denmark.
Whilst the Premier League is yet to confirm a date for its return, clubs discussed it during Thursday's meeting and mid September is looking likeliest.
Part of the reason for that is likely to be to allow test events to show if it's safe to have fans back at sporting events, especially with Liverpool's Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid and Cheltenham Festival suspected to be major factors around Covid-19 being spread.
The Community Shield, women's cricket matches and the Women's Super League could all be used as test events for fans to attend.