Sunday, July 12, 2020

Gary Neville offers alternative Premier League plan as saga of neutral sites continues

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The lands belonging to the last six in the Premier League could be selected as neutral places to appease threatened relegations, suggests Gary Neville.

The flight to the top of England has been put on hold for two months and plans to recover are underway.

But Project Restart saw its proposal to play neutral games opposed by some of the last six in the league.

Authorities consider selecting eight to ten sites the safest way to end the campaign.

But Watford, Aston Villa and Brighton all responded to the idea.

They see the house advantage as a huge factor in their battle to beat the decline and Neville believes that an agreement could be reached by selecting their stadiums as neutral sites.

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He tweeted: “Just a suggestion, but to completely disarm the last 6 with the point of non-relegation, why does the PL not simply choose its grounds as neutral sites and let them play at home.”

Norwich, West Ham and Bournemouth have not yet rejected the idea but should favor matches on their own ground.

This would see Carrow Road, London Stadium, Vicarage Road, Vitality Stadium, Villa Park and Amex Stadium selected.

Watford President and CEO Scott Duxbury has previously said that removing games from the field compromises the sporting integrity of the Premier League.



Four of Watford’s six championship victories were won on Vicarage Road

“Of course, I absolutely accept that we cannot have supporters in the stadium,” Duxbury wrote in The Times. “It goes without saying in the current situation.

“However, we are now told that we cannot play our remaining home games at Vicarage Road and the familiarity and benefit that comes with it.

“This in the context of players who, after seeing their lives turned upside down with the rest of the world, should suddenly behave as if nothing had happened, despite the rest of society which probably still faces the kind of inapplicable restrictions on a football field.

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“We have club medical personnel working under conditions that no doctor or physio has ever known with guidelines which, for the most part, are based at this stage on assumptions rather than scientific facts.

“And with all of these compromises and health risks, we are being asked to finish a competition that is unlike the one we started, which could end a small club like Watford in the Premier League.

“Is it fair? Does he have a semblance of sporting integrity? Of course not.”

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