Amid frequent talks of a Premier League return, the season could be cancelled altogether if clubs do not agree to play the remaining fixtures at neutral venues, according to Chief Executive of the League Managers Association (LMA), Richard Bevan. There have been reports suggesting that a Premier League return as early as mid-June is on the cards according to Project Restart, with players likely to return to training latest by mid-May.
Six Premier League teams, including the likes of Brighton, are opposed to the idea of playing the remaining fixtures at neutral venues, fearing huge loss of revenue. Seagulls chief Paul Barber told the club’s official website that he agreed with the argument of playing the remaining fixtures behind closed doors as it was a necessity to curb the spread of coronavirus in the UK.
Barber, however, claimed that playing the remaining games at neutral venues at this critical point of the season is likely to have a negative impact on the integrity of the Premier League. Apart from Brighton, Watford, West Ham United, Bournemouth, Norwich City and Aston Villa are the other major clubs that are reported to be against the idea of neutral venues. Nearly all of these clubs are involved in a relegation battle.
While speaking to BBC Radio 4, League Managers Association chief Richard Bevan predicted that a similar stance from clubs would lead to the cancellation of the ongoing Premier League season. He claimed that playing games at home venues might lead to a huge gathering of fans which will violate the government’s social distancing plans. Meanwhile, doctors of Premier League clubs have also flagged concerns over their own safety once the Premier League returns.