Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is hopeful for the return of fans to top flight stadiums sooner rather than later.
A full capacity of supporters hasn’t been seen in England’s top division since March last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the FT Business of Football summit, Masters is confident of a gradual return to normality in the coming months.
“We are getting used to watching live football on television without fans in the stadiums, and I don’t want to get used to it for much longer. Hopefully we will see an end to that and a return of supporters as soon as possible” said Masters.
“I am confident (fans will return next season). No one can say because this pandemic has a way of surprising you as it did over Christmas, but we haven’t lost hope we might see a few back even this season, depending on what happens and the direction of the numbers and government decisions etc”.
“Certainly, I hope next season it opens up quickly and we can work with the government again and with the rest of sport, and get fans back in the stadium in real numbers and get back to the real Premier League.”
He also said he hoped that there would be no need for a trophy presentation behind closed doors, as was the case for Liverpool at Anfield in July.
“No-one can say but we have not lost hope we might see a few back this season, depending what happens with the numbers,” he said.
“Hopefully the season finishes as planned on 23 May and wherever the trophy presentation might be, there might be some supporters in the ground as well.
“It depends what happens with the numbers but next season I hope it opens up quickly, so we can get fans back in stadiums and get back to the real Premier League.”