Premier League At Odds with Police Advice

The Premier League appears to be on a collision course with authorities over the use of neutral venue grounds to complete the season.

Time restrictions on outdoor exercise will end from tomorrow and sporting activity where social distancing is maintained will be permitted outdoors on Wednesday of this week.

Police and Public Health authorities had expressed concern over the use of home grounds as being too attractive to fans who would potentially gather at the venue for key games, even though they would not be permitted to enter the ground.

A number of high ranking police officers warned of the danger of public order breaches and a programme of neutral venues had been drawn up to mitigate against this.

This would have included staging games at perhaps eight or ten venues, including Wembley Stadium, under strict health guidelines.

Yesterday’s full video call between all clubs is reported to have seen twelve voice their objection to neutral venues and the Premier League has been mandated to go back and explore seeking permission for the regular use of stadia.

One senior police officer is reported to have suggested that clubs “get a grip” and the optics of going against public health advice in order to enhance chances of saving a team from relegation does look completely out of step with the way that sporting bodies have behaved in public throughout the crisis to date.

Clubs are expected to be in line to repay half of the money at stake to TV broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport, even if the season resumes. This will come to almost €400 Million because of the disruption to schedules and deviation from what was agreed as part of the current TV deal.

The number would double if the season was not completed.

In light of the Government publication of more detail around a return to regular activity, June is now being set as the earliest date for a potential resumption of games behind closed doors.

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