Carrow Road could be back in use as Premier League fail to agree on neutral venues
PUBLISHED: 18:28 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:38 11 May 2020
PA Wire/PA Images
Norwich City could play their remaining home games at Carrow Road after Premier League clubs failed to reach agreement over the use of neutral venues.
The government has given the green light for football to resume after June 1, but the top flight’s 20 clubs failed to settle one of the major sticking points of recent weeks.
It now looks likely the Premier League will ask the government to reconsider their directive on the use of neutral grounds for the outstanding 92 Premier League fixtures this season.
Reports claimed Monday’s Premier League meeting discussed the matter for four hours.
There were concerns from some of the struggling clubs that they would suffer more of an impact because their best chance of earning points to stave off relegation was at home venues, even behind closed doors.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the organisation was in an “ongoing dialogue” with government, police and ground safety officials.
“Everybody would prefer to play at home and away if at all possible, and it’s clear to see some clubs feel more strongly about that than others,” he said after yesterday’s shareholders’ meeting.
“We are in contact with the authorities and listening to that advice, while also representing club views in those discussions.”
Clubs were told a fortnight ago that using neutral stadiums was the only way the season could be completed, with fears that fans would gather outside home grounds and breaching social distancing rules.
But a number of clubs went public in their opposition, including Watford, Aston Villa and Brighton – although Norwich, bottom of the table, have made no official comment. Their concern was that taking away home advantage would hit them hardest.
“Since Covid became an issue we’ve been talking to the authorities about the conditions in which we could get the Premier League back up and running and taking all that advice on board, but it is an ongoing dialogue,” said Masters, speaking for the first time since the season was suspended.
“But all must be cognisant of what authorities are telling us, and we’ll continue with that consultation.”
The Premier League did agree that player contracts ending on June 30 can be extended to the end of the 2019-20 season, whenever that may be. Masters said that the impetus was to ensure “clubs complete the season with the same squad they had prior to the suspension” in mid-March.
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