Premier League clubs still in deadlock over neutral venues plans

BREAKING NEWS: Premier League ‘will ask the Government to allow clubs to use their own stadiums’ and fix the Project Restart split after FOUR HOURS of talks ended in deadlock on neutral grounds

  • Chiefs from all 20 Premier League clubs held latest conference call on Monday
  • There was plenty on agenda, including plan for the season and player contracts
  • No decision has been made on Project Restart and when season can be finished
  • Clubs are said to be still in deadlock over the use of neutral venues for matches
  • The Premier League is set to ask the government to change their stance on it
  • The FA insisted to clubs that the season must be completed on sporting merit 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The Premier League is reportedly set to ask the government to reconsider their stance of using neutral venues to complete the season after ‘more than half’ of the clubs’ requested to use their own stadium.

Top-flight sides are still split over whether or not to finish the season in neutral venues after the latest round of talks on Monday but have decided to extend players’ contracts that were due to expire on June 30.

Executives from all 20 Premier League clubs held their latest video conference on Monday to discuss a range of matters regarding the suspended top-flight season. 

Premier League clubs held a meeting on Monday to discuss how Project Restart will work

A decision has not yet been finalised over whether matches will take place at neutral venues

Wembley has been identified as one stadium that could host Premier League matches

Chief among them was Project Restart, and the plans for finishing the current 2019-20 campaign, but as of yet no final decision has been made on that. 

A vote was initially scheduled for Monday’s crunch meeting, but that was moved back and is expected to now take place on May 18. 

According to The Sun though, the clubs could still  not come to an agreement on proposals to play out the remaining fixtures at neutral venues.  

The plan remains to resume the campaign on June 12, with stars and essential staff being tested for coronavirus twice a week and games played behind closed doors at neutral venues like Wembley or St George’s Park. 

But it is reported Monday’s talks lasted just under four hours and there were no signs that any clubs had changed their minds on neutral venues, although talks did not get heated. 

The Times claim the Premier League will now contact the government asking them to reconsider the need to use neutral venues. Germany’s Bundesliga is planning on restarting using home and away fixtures this weekend.

The Government road map revealed top-level sport in England could restart behind closed doors from June 1

According to The Independent, clubs were also told at the very start of the meeting by the FA that the season must be settled by ‘sporting merit’.

That means if the remaining fixtures cannot be played out as usual, a method like points-per-game or the one used in France may come into play. It is claimed voiding the season ‘remains completely off the table’. 

Also high on the agenda at Monday’s crunch meeting were player contracts, and a vote did take place on that. 

Clubs gave the green light to temporarily extending the contracts of players that were up at the end of next month until the season can be completed.

Some of the high-profile names these rules apply to are the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Willian, Adam Lallana and Olivier Giroud. 

The agreement also means players currently on loan at clubs can extend their stays as well, although ‘both clubs and the player must agree to the extension if two Premier League clubs are involved’.  

There has been plenty of confusion over the Premier League’s plans, with pressure being applied on the English top flight to make a decision after France cancelled their season, while Germany press ahead with behind-closed-doors matches from next weekend. 

Brighton chief Paul Barber has admitted he has concerns about the Premier League restarting 

Going into Monday’s meeting, it was understood six clubs – Aston Villa, Watford and Brighton the most vocal of them – were against playing games at neutral grounds and instead wanted to keep their home advantage.

There is a general consensus that the season will be finished one way or another when it is safe to do so, as England look to follow the likes of Germany rather than Holland and France, who have curtailed their own campaigns.

It is understood that it is unlikely relegation will be scrapped if football does return, despite initial anger from clubs in the lower echelons of the top-flight who were worried about preserving their status in the richest league in world football. 

No football has been played since March 13, almost two months ago, with over 31,000 people now having died in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Sunday night, but no specific guidance was given regarding professional sport and when it would be safe to resume. 

Liverpool’s Adam Lallana is one of the Premier League players out of contract on July 1

Norwich and Aston Villa are among clubs unhappy about playing matches at neutral venues

On Monday the government published a more detailed plan and it revealed top-level sport in England could restart behind closed doors from June 1 but spectators may not be able to attend venues until a vaccine is found.

Step two of the road map, which cannot begin any earlier than June 1, includes ‘permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind-closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact’.   

This will only be possible though if sufficient progress is made in limiting the spread of the virus between now and then, but the document entitled ‘Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy’ says that ‘organisations should plan accordingly’.

The new guidelines mean Premier League football has the green light to resume on its proposed June 12 date, if the 20 clubs push through a vote in the coming weeks. 

PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYERS OUT OF CONTRACT ON JUNE 30 

Arsenal:

Matt Macey, Dani Ceballos (loan), Cedric Soares (loan), Pablo Mari (loan)

Aston Villa:

Borja Baston, Keinan Davis, Matija Sarkic, Danny Drinkwater (loan), Pepe Reina (loan)

Bournemouth: 

Ryan Fraser, Jordon Ibe, Andrew Surman, Charlie Daniels, Jack Simpson, Simon Francis, Artur Boruc, Harry Wilson (loan) 

Brighton:

Beram Kayal, Ezequiel Schelotto 

Burnley: 

Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Robbie Brady, Aaron Lennon, Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Adam Legzdins 

Chelsea:

Willian, Pedro, Olivier Giroud, Marco van Ginkel, Willy Caballero

Crystal Palace:

Stephen Henderson

Everton:

Oumar Niasse, Leighton Baines, Cuco Martina, Maarten Stekelenburg, Djibril Sidibe (loan)

Leicester:

Nampalys Mendy, Christian Fuchs, Wes Morgan, Eldin Jakupovic, Ryan Bennett (loan)

Liverpool:

Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Andy Lonergan

Manchester City:

David Silva, Claudio Bravo, Scott Carson (loan)

Manchester United:  

Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Odion Ighalo (loan)

Newcastle:

Javier Manquillo, Andy Carroll, Matty Longstaff, Karl Darlow, Jack Colback, Rob Elliot, Jamie Sterry, Danny Rose (loan), Nabil Bentaleb (loan), Valentino Lazaro (loan), Jetro Willems (loan)

Norwich:

Ondrej Duda (loan) 

Sheffield United:

John Lundstram, Jack Rodwell, Kieron Freeman, Phil Jagielka, Leon Clarke, Ricky Holmes, Dean Henderson (loan), Muhamed Besic (loan), Panagiotis Retsos (loan), Richairo Zivkovic (loan)

Southampton:

Shane Long, Kyle Walker-Peters (loan), Kevin Danso (loan)

Tottenham:

Jan Vertonghen, Japhet Tanganga, Michel Vorm

Watford:

Adrian Mariappa, Ben Foster, Jose Holebas, Heurelho Gomes, Daniel Bachmann

West Ham:

Carlos Sanchez, Pablo Zabaleta, Tomas Soucek (loan)

Wolves:

John Ruddy, Max Kilman, Bright Enobakhare, Phil Ofosu-Ayeh, Enzo Loiodice (loan)




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