Premier League boss Richard Masters is hopeful this season’s champions will be spared having to lift the trophy in an empty stadium.
Chief executive Masters is eyeing next term for a major return of supporters, but he says there is a possibility some may return before the 2020-21 campaign ends.
Fans have been absent for almost all of this season to date due to the COVID-19 crisis.
A brief window in December saw up to 2,000 fans allowed in a number of games, but that was quickly shut as infection rates climbed.
It has created the possibility of the champions, like Liverpool last season, having to celebrate their title success behind closed doors.
Yet Masters, who spoke at the FT Business of Football summit on Thursday, is holding out hope that falling coronavirus numbers may mean stands can soon be occupied, even if only by a small number of fans.
“No-one can say but we have not lost hope we might see a few back this season, depending what happens with the numbers,” Masters 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.”
Manchester City appear to be surging towards a third Premier League title in four seasons, having opened up a 10-point lead over nearest rivals Manchester United and Leicester City with 14 games remaining.
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