Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 29 November 2020

Premier League looking at 'clinical passports' to facilitate fans' return to venues

Chief executive Richard Masters says solutions will not be found quickly

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has said 'clinical passports' may be the solution to get fans back to football venues.

Masters said after completing the season behind closed doors following the coronavirus-enforced break, the next step was to bring spectators back to stadia safely.

The 2020/21 Premier League and lower-tier English Football League begin their new seasons on September 12 and Masters, in a column for The Times, said that every solution was being examined to give fans the chance to watch their team again.

"We are also willing to see how we can support the development of 'clinical passports" – an app-based system that looks at all symptoms and other COVID-19 contributing factors – as well as other measures," he wrote.

Masters said the EPL was look to work with local councils on transport solutions.

"We are considering all areas of a match day, from ticketing solutions, stadium seating allocation configuration and timed entries, to temperature checks and an in-seat food and drink service for fans," said Masters.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JULY 22: Richard Masters, Chief Executive of Premier League and Sir Kenny Dalglish, Former Captain and Manager of Liverpool place The Premier League trophy upon a plinth following the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield on July 22, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Phil Noble/2020 Pool)
Richard Masters, chief executive of Premier League, and Sir Kenny Dalglish. Getty

"We will work with local authorities and clubs to seek solutions to local transport challenges such as introducing additional car parking and secure bicycle spaces and implementing park-and-walk schemes."

Masters said bringing fans back was vital not only for the teams on the pitch but for reasons off it as well.

"The importance of fans is not only related to the match-day experience and team performance," he said.

"Without them, there is also a significant financial impact on clubs at all levels of the game, and their cities, towns and communities."

Masters, though, urged patience as the solutions will not be found quickly.

"There is still a lot to be done, and it will not happen overnight," he said.

"We must test and prove what is possible, in tandem with the authorities, within a framework that is flexible and can adapt to fast-moving circumstances and developing expertise."

Updated: July 31, 2020 02:25 PM

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