Plans to complete Premier League season at neutral ‘hubs’ behind closed doors gain support with stadiums in the south, Midlands and north ready to host top-flight matches to minimise coronavirus risk
- The Premier League is planning for its return amid the coronavirus crisis
- There are concerns that hosting matches at original venues will be impossible
- Restrictions are likely to remain in place because of the global pandemic
- Designated stadiums in the south, Midlands and north would host games
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
It is increasingly likely that what is left of the Premier League season will be played at neutral venues behind closed doors, should football return.
There are concerns that hosting matches at the original venues might be logistically impossible when some restrictions are likely to remain because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, designated stadiums in the south, Midlands and north would host games to minimise travel for staff, TV crews and medical teams.
The FA have offered the use of Wembley as a neutral hub for Premier League matches
The FA have offered the use of Wembley and St George’s Park, and other sites are being considered. Multiple matches could be played on the same day at one venue.
There are also concerns that should matches be played at the original venues, supporters would turn up.
Police forces are unlikely to be in a position to deploy the numbers needed to ensure that fans are kept away from stadiums.
There are concerns that hosting matches at original venues might be logistically impossible
Whether football does return remains to be seen. Privately, some top-flight clubs believe there is very little chance of the campaign being completed and they have growing confidence that broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport would not attempt to claw back the £370million owed for outstanding matches.
The FA are considering completing the Women’s Super League at neutral venues and other sports, including cricket, are examining similar plans.
Old Trafford and Southampton’s Ageas Bowl — each of which has an on-site hotel — are being considered to host England cricket matches.
Sources say the ECB will hold a board meeting this week to discuss up to five different plans.
Some top-flight clubs believe there is very little chance of the campaign being completed
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