Civil war is in danger of breaking out between the Premier League’s top six and the rest.
Big clubs made a passionate presentation at Friday’s summit about why they must finish the campaign – and stressed if they do not complete the games then it will also leave next season surrounded by uncertainty.
But they also stressed they must avoid a “doomsday scenario” of ending the season because of the huge impact it would have on clubs their community staff and could put thousands of jobs at risk as with any other business.
However, Mirror Sport understands that there is a feeling among a raft of clubs that the top clubs are in serious danger of destroying football’s integrity of trying to finish the season during a global pandemic.
Relegation-threatened clubs fighting for survival are against the Premier League’s plan to use between “eight and ten approved” top flight grounds but all games would be staged in a neutral venue meaning every club loses home advantage.
The meeting was presented with a Government report suggesting it can go ahead if enough tests are available to carry out 1,000 tests-a-week so every Premier League player gets tested.
Plus a medical report and evidence to show how they can go ahead with the best case scenario of starting full team training from May 18, games could begin from June 8 but the first game could kick off on Friday June 12.
All games will be behind closed doors, clubs were told there would be a maximum of around 300 at any ground made up largely of players, staff, security and media and the hope is that they could complete the 92 games in a six week period but no exact end date has been set.
Premier League clubs are believed to be discussing curtailing the season rather than voiding it if they cannot restart with the possibility of promoting the top two from the Championship and play an expanded top flight.
But the EFL is likely to oppose losing Leeds and West Brom, although one idea could be to abandon lucrative parachute payments and instead ask the Premier League to instead use the cash and increase their solidarity payments.
They are watching developments closely in the Bundesliga as Premier League chiefs believe that is the closest European league to English football. German football has already delayed making a decision by another week.
The Premier League was due to meet again next Thursday but that has now been cancelled because it is the same day as the Government presents its next coronavirus update on the lockdown.
It is likely that a vote could be staged next Friday – although League bosses insist that has yet to be fixed – and it would need 14 clubs to push through the plans under the Project Restart.
The clubs will now study the medical, Government and football plans over the next few days while the Premier League insist they will now also consult with the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association.
However, it could be difficult for the big clubs to get a majority to start again because there is so much opposition from smaller teams concerned about the integrity of the league.
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