Neutral venues required to complete Premier League season

Premier League clubs have been told the remaining matches of the 2019-20 season must be played at neutral venues, the PA news agency understands.

The clubs were presented with the league’s ‘Project Restart’ plans at a meeting on Friday, and while a statement was issued reconfirming the clubs’ commitment to finishing the season, it is understood there is no possibility that it can now finish on a home-and-away basis for safety reasons.

The restart plans were understood to have been well received, but there remains opposition on competition and integrity grounds about the idea of finishing the season at neutral venues.

Clubs are expected to vote on the key principles of ‘Project Restart’ some time after May 7, when the Government must review the current UK lockdown.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said on Thursday that the idea of not playing matches home and away was a “further imperfection” on top of games being behind closed doors.

The UK national football policing lead, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, told the PA news agency on Wednesday that playing all matches in the Premier League and EFL at their original venues would “present challenges” for the emergency services at a time when they are already stretched.

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