Every Premier League club would rather play at home over neutral venues, admits CEO Masters

Richard Masters says there is “an ongoing dialogue” with authorities over the league’s ‘Project Restart’ plans

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says every club in the division would rather play games at home stadiums than neutral venues.

The current plan to play games at a small number of neutral grounds has divided opinion among fans and pundits, and there have been suggestions that the Premier League could ask the government to reconsider their advice on the subject.

Masters says there is “an ongoing dialogue” between authorities, and he says he knows clubs would rather play in more familiar surroundings.

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“Just to reiterate that, I think everybody would prefer to play home and away if at all possible,” he told the Mirror.

“And I think it’s clear to see that some clubs feel more strongly about that than others.

“It is an ongoing dialogue and obviously we’ve been talking to – since Covid-19 became an issue – we’ve been talking to the authorities about the conditions in which we could get the Premier League back up and running and taking all that advice on board.”

Masters also confirmed a company had been appointed to carry out coronavirus tests, but that no plans could be confirmed without being discussed with managers and players.

“We have protocols created and reviewed, we have a testing company appointed, but the important consultation with players and managers is the next step, nothing has been agreed and nothing will be agreed until we have spoken to both the managers and the players,” he said.

“We discussed the training protocols, they’re under medical advice and we’re working closely with government still.

“No decisions will be made until after we have talked to players and managers and those meetings are scheduled for later this week.

“We have appointed a testing company. We talked about neutral venues – obviously it is the preference of all our clubs to play at home if at all possible, but all must be cognisant of what authorities are telling us and we will continue with that conversation.

“We won’t be playing until the middle of June, it doesn’t seem quite right to be talking about playing before we’ve actually taken the decision to return to the first stage of training, but obviously in terms of how those matches will take place, there’s a lot of water to pass under the bridge and we will continue to assess the circumstances then.”

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