The Premier League’s hopes of bringing fans back to the stadiums in early October could be hampered after the UK government said it would review plans and limit test events for sports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a news conference in Downing Street that pilot events for sports in September would be restricted to a maximum of 1,000 fans per event.
“We should review plans to test larger audiences at venues later this month and review our intention to return audiences to stadiums beginning October 1.
But that doesn’t mean we’re going to scrap the show entirely. We will just have to review it and summarize it, ”he said.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Twitter that changes to the plans would be announced shortly, following an increased number of COVID-19 cases in the UK.
“Work continues around the clock with the ambition of having an audience much closer to normal by Christmas,” said Dowden.
The new Premier League season kicks off on Saturday and, as with matches played since last season’s resumption in June following the coronavirus lockdown, they would be closed to fans.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said the league was still ready to hold test events with the goal of some fans returning to the grounds by October 1.
“We are always subject to a government decision and they have not made that decision yet.
“All I can say is that the Premier League and Premier League clubs are ready, willing and able to continue with our test events and test proposals and open our turnstiles from 1 October if we are given permission. to do it, “Masters said. reporters.
“If Project Restart taught us anything, it is that we have to be flexible and willing to tackle the obstacles along the way,” he said.
Masters said the absence of fans had an economic impact beyond the clubs affected.
“There are implications. With each round of the game that passes without fans, there are significant financial implications for every club in the football pyramid. So it has an impact.
“It is not just the loss of income from the day.
“Each Premier League match generates on average around £ 20 million for the local and national economy. Therefore, we want to play our role to help the economy recover as well, ”he said.