The Premier League has earmarked eight stadiums that will be used as ‘neutral’ venues if and when the current top flight season resumes.
On Friday, a three-and-a-half hour video conference took place with all 20 ‘shareholder’ clubs involved, during which a shortlist of potential grounds was agreed upon.
Brighton, who were only two points above the relegation zone before the coronavirus crisis forced an indefinite suspension, were reported to be among a small number of clubs who wanted to maintain home advantage, but they were overruled while Wembley and St George’s Park, where the England national team trains, were discounted.
The first Premier League fixture has been tentatively pencilled in for June 12 and no team will be allowed to play at their home ground in an attempt to maintain some semblance of a level playing field.
According to The Sun, the current shortlist of venues includes Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and West Ham’s London Stadium in the capital, as well as Brighton’s Amex and Southampton’s St Mary’s on the south coast.
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In the Midlands Villa Park and Leicester’s King Power have made the cut, while further north the Etihad and Old Trafford will be in use.
The prospect of Liverpool, therefore, confirming their status as champions on home soil has been dismissed. Earlier this week fans were warned they should avoid the temptation to congregate at stadiums or risk football being cancelled altogether.
Mark Roberts, the Deputy Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and the National Lead for football policing, said: ‘What we don’t want is to do things that breach the lockdown and all the hard work that people have put in through social isolation by then having fans congregate at stadiums, training grounds.
‘What you could do if we start fixtures again is to be very clear that if fans don’t abide by the restrictions then the league can be curtailed. ‘I’d be very keen to put it in the gift of the supporters themselves that, the more you abide by the restrictions, the easier it makes it to fulfil the season.’
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