The remainder of the 2019/20 Premier League season could be played behind closed doors at neutral stadiums to ensure the campaign is completed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
England’s top-flight has been in discussion for weeks now as to how to proceed amid the ongoing crisis, with the UK to remain in lockdown until May 7 at the earliest.
The coronavirus lockdown was extended for another three weeks last Thursday
It is widely expected that, if the season is to complete, all matches will be played behind closed doors with large gatherings of people unlikely to be allowed until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found.
And, according to the Daily Mail, one solution will be to play every game at a ‘hub’ stadium – with multiple matches possibly played on the same day.
Stadiums would be designated throughout the country as these ‘hubs’, with the Football Association already offering Wembley to be used for this purpose.
The proposal of using neutral stadiums comes amid concerns that hosting matches at the normal Premier League grounds is surely impossible if lockdown restrictions remain when football resumes.
Georgie Bingham on why football should not return behind closed doors
Give COVID-19 the red card
The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again
STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:
- to shop for basic essentials only when you really need to
- to do one form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- for any medical need for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work but only where this is absolutely necessary
For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.
The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
There are also fears that supporters will turn up to the original stadiums if matches are played there, with police resources stretched too thin because of the pandemic to restrict fan movements.
Moving all the remaining top-flight games to neutral stadiums would largely negate this worry, it is understood.
Nonetheless, some Premier League clubs are said to believe the season will NOT resume with doubts remaining over the time frame necessary to play all the required matches before the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
League shareholders will continue to meet over the coming weeks to formulate a plan over how to proceed with the season, based on the latest government advice.