Playing in Neutral Venues for Premier League Clubs Close to Relegation

The plan to resume the Premier League remaining matches in neutral stadiums triggers a new polemic. Some clubs are ready to continue the competition as long as there is no relegation. The Premier League committee has a plan to use 10 neutral stadiums to play the rest of the matches. The clubs in the bottom position claim that playing the matches in this condition is unfair. They have to face bigger pressure. The squads are worried because of the epidemic and risk of relegation. Based on the agreement, all clubs will continue the remaining matches to finish the 2019-2020 season if it is safe to do so. 

The condition forces the Premier League committee to decide to stop the competition on 13 March 2020. Clubs need a guarantee that the players and officials are safe. The club managements agree if their players have to play the match behind closed doors. The squads will play the match without supporters and less than 45 minutes. Brighton chief executive Paul Barber explains that playing the 92 matches left closed doors is necessary to do to catch up on the deadline of the competition. But he also says that the committee has to reconsider playing the matches in neutral venues. This idea will affect the integrity of the competition. Clubs may lose a large amount of money because of relegation. How about if there is no relegation this season? If it is so, two or three teams can go to the Championship this year. The other 22 or 23 teams can go to the next season. The reason to use neutral venues is to prevent unwanted risks. Playing in a neutral venue is a good option because clubs have to play without supporters. Moreover, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority and police will choose the safest venues. Premier League clubs are still waiting for the current condition. The government will discuss the lockdown restriction on 7 May 2020. Clubs will decide their statement after the discussion.

It is a serious matter for several clubs, such as Brighton, West Ham, and Crystal Palace. Brighton explains that playing in the neutral venue is a disadvantage for the club. They have to adapt to a new venue. Moreover, they also have to play alone without support from their loyal fans. Brighton has 9 games left to play and in the 15th position. West Ham also wants to play the remaining 5 games at London Stadium. This club is in the 16th position. They have to focus on the goal difference to save from the relegation zone. Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish explains that the idea to play the rest of the matches closed doors is good. It is challenging for his club. He also says that the option is safer than going to the supermarkets. Crystal Palace is in the 11th position. It is better to finish the matches left immediately, so clubs can focus for the next season. Clubs have to be optimistic that there will be a better chance next season.