Richard Masters has confirmed that the Premier League are still keen to finish the season on a home and away basis.

The most controversial and divisive issue surrounding Project Restart was the prospect of matches being played at neutral venues.

All clubs were far from happy at potentially giving up home advantage when the league returns from its coronavirus-enforced suspension, but some saw it as a necessity to finish the campaign.

The decision to play at neutral sites was initially undertaken on police advice, but talks earlier this month between the relevant stakeholders saw an apparent breakthrough that would allow for home and away matches to take place as normal.

However, there has since been no official confirmation that that will indeed happen.

As such, chief executive Masters continues to be pressed on the issue. And speaking on Friday, he attempted to clarify and confirm the Premier League’s stance.

Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the Premier League
(Image: Getty Images for Premier League)

He told the BBC that the Premier League wanted “to play out the season as much as possible at home and away venues”.

“We’re talking to the authorities about that,” he added.

“I do believe we can appeal to fans not to congregate outside football grounds or go to other people’s houses to watch football matches in contravention of government guidelines.”

Masters also insists the Premier League were “very surprised” when some club doctors raised concerns over plans to resume earlier this month.

“We ran a very thorough consultation with club doctors,” he added.

“We have done everything we possibly can to make return to training as safe as possible.

“We think it is safe to return. We have to respect players’ decisions not to return to training. I would be comfortable to return to training.”

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However, Chelsea star N’Golo Kante this week elected to stay away from training over Covid-19 fears.

A similar stance has been adopted by Watford skipper Troy Deeney, while the Hornets are six players down inside the first week training.

Deeney is staying away, along with two others on health grounds, while Adrian Mariappa tested positive for Covid-19.

On Friday, boss Nigel Pearson confirmed another unnamed duo had also gone into self isolation.

“We’ve got a couple more people in isolation because of close contact with people who have tested positive – even though their own test results have come back negative.

“That shows you the complications we’ve got, but we’re not a full squad – one player through testing positive, two more because they’ve been in close contact with somebody else and we have the players who decided not to come in.

“We’ve had several players not available for different reasons. Hopefully that situation will change in time.”

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