Man Utd ‘not happy’ with playing games behind closed doors as Ed Woodward fears ‘uncertainty’ over season restart – The Sun
MANCHESTER UNITED are "not happy" with playing games behind closed doors as chief executive Ed Woodward admits he is uncertain whether the season can restart.
The current campaign has been suspended since March amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Premier League chiefs desperate to have football return as soon as possible.
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At the moment the plans is to resume the season on June 12 and stage matches behind closed doors at neutral grounds – if the Government gives the green light.
But United chief executive Woodward revealed on a fans' forum conference call that he is not a fan of games played in front of no crowd, but fears it may be the only option.
He said: "No decisions have been made yet but we think it is possible that the initial games, particularly the ones related to finishing or trying to complete this season, will probably have to be played behind closed doors.
"We're not necessarily happy about that – clearly football requires our fans in the stadium for it to be complete – but public health must come first and… this is down to the Government.
"It's important to get back to playing football and complete this season once it's safe to do so."
The latest video conference meeting of the 20 “shareholder” clubs lasted some three and a half hours today as they debated a range of issues.
Clubs remain determined to finish the season if possible – as long as there is Government approval.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signalled the national lockdown will only be eased in stages and not before next Thursday.
Clubs are hoping to begin some form of formal training from May 18, with a target for the return of games to resume the season on June 12.
But even so Woodward questions how much next season will be affected due to the pause in the current term, on and off the field.
He said: "We've got to have clarity on what the future holds. What will happen with the remainder of this season?
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"What is the impact on next season? Is it behind closed doors or in front of fans? What's the impact on broadcast deals, sponsorship deals? What's the impact on domestic cups?
"We don't yet know what's going to happen with regards to the FA Cup. We're obviously still in that in the quarter-finals.
"What's going to happen to that next season if the season is truncated a little bit to squeeze in Premier League games? Does that have a knock-on on domestic cups? There are many, many moving parts."
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