Premier league season could be cancelled if clubs don’t back neutral venues

The English Premier League season could be cancelled if teams did not agree to play the remaining 92 fixtures in neutral venues amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

League Managers Association (LMA) chief executive Richard Bevan made the remarks on Wednesday.

Professional football has been suspended since mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 32,000 people in the United Kingdom, the highest death toll in Europe.

Discussions are continuing about resuming matches after clubs were told on a Premier League conference call earlier this month that only neutral venues approved from a health and safety point of view will be allowed.

Asked if the 2019/20 campaign would be cancelled if teams voted against playing in neutral venues, Bevan told the BBC: 

Yes, I think that probably is correct. The government, if they haven’t already, will be making it clear that home matches with densely populated stadia, really puts into question whether social distancing rules can be adhered to.

Later on Wednesday, Aston Villa joined Brighton and West Ham in publicly opposing the idea of completing the Premier League season at neutral venues but Burnley boss Sean Dyche is hopeful football can return soon.

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow warned clubs would not support measures that increased the risk of the “£200 million catastrophe” that is relegation.

Personally I’m against it, Purslow said on talkSPORT. We’re a club that prides itself on home form. Two-thirds of our wins this season have come at home.
We’ve got six home games left to play and I think any Villa fan would agree that giving up that advantage is a massive decision for somebody running Aston Villa and I certainly wouldn’t agree to that unless those circumstances are right.

Villa, having played a game less than those around them, sit in the relegation zone as things stand, two points behind West Ham – who are outside the bottom three on goal difference – with Brighton a further two points better off in 15th place.

Burnley boss Dyche meanwhile hopes the campaign can be completed, as long as safety protocols are followed.

There are lots of ideas and lots of thoughts, he said on Clarets Player HD. We are very pro the idea of moving forward, when we can of course and when it’s safe, and the players are clear-minded about that as well. They want the season to carry on and finish.

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