Don’t write us off yet! Lewis Dunk leads furious Brighton players in asking club to tone down its opposition to Project Restart amid concerns it belittled their chances of Premier League survival
- Brighton players asked the club to tone down its opposition to Project Restart
- Captain Lewis Dunk made a direct representation to club chairman Tony Bloom
- Chief Executive Paul Barber has been more conciliatory since the request
- The Seagulls were being seen as ringleaders in preventing the return of football
A group of Brighton players asked the club to tone down their outspoken opposition to Project Restart last week as they felt it belittled their chances of staying in the Premier League on merit.
Seagulls captain and hometown boy Lewis Dunk made direct representations to chairman Tony Bloom, expressing their unhappiness that Brighton — two points above the relegation zone — were being seen as the ringleaders in preventing top-flight football from returning.
It is significant that since the players’ move, chief executive Paul Barber has been more conciliatory towards the concept of the Premier League restarting, having previously complained about neutral grounds and a risk to life.
Brighton players asked the club to tone down their outspoken opposition of Project Restart
Lewis Dunk made a direct representations to chairman Tony Bloom (right) on the matter
Glenn Murray and Anthony Knockaert were among the Seagulls players who also publicly questioned whether the Premier League should return but a larger group headed by Dunk felt Brighton’s negative stance came across as a lack of confidence in their ability to avoid relegation on the pitch.
The intervention comes ahead of an important week for the Premier League, which is hoping to resume on June 19 or 26.
A decision to reintroduce contact training under strict testing procedures is expected to be rubber-stamped on Tuesday but there is still a divide on what should happen if the league does not resume this season.
Players believe the club’s opposition belittles their chances of avoiding relegation on merit
Chief executive Paul Barber has been more conciliatory on the restart since the request
Aston Villa, who are 18th but have a game in hand, are trying to persuade clubs that it is unfair to send the current bottom three down on the basis of points per game, as they would be able to leapfrog Watford if they won that game.
The Premier League have invited all 20 clubs to suggest the best solution in the event of the league being voided.
More complicated models which take into account current points and the difficulty of remaining fixtures are also being investigated.
The Premier League have invited all clubs to suggest the best solution if the season is voided
A further meeting on the issue is set for Wednesday this week.
Clubs closer to the relegation zone are more regularly raising difficulties about Project Restart, while those above, such as Sheffield United in seventh place and Burnley in 10th, are keen to get going once again.
West Ham, currently 16th, raised the issue about a lack of social-distance marking at set-pieces, though that did not seem to be a problem in the Bundesliga, with everyone on the field properly tested.
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