Police edging closer to allowi...

Sport

Police edging closer to allowing Premier League clubs use own grounds

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

07:49 12 May 2020


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Premier League clubs opposing the use of neutral venues to play out the season have been offered new hope by England's senior football police officer.

It's believed as many as twelve clubs are against the proposal of using between eight and ten neutral grounds for the remaining 92 games of the season.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police previously told such opponents to "get a grip".

He had claimed neutral venues were a necessity to avoid fans congregating outside closed stadiums and risking further spikes in COVID-19 infection rates.

But now, DCC Roberts says "positive talks" will lead both police and English football's stakeholders to explore options beyond playing at neutral venues.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is to raise the prospect of playing games on a home and away basis with UK government officials next week.

The government are believed to be open to the idea, provided it gets the okay from police.

DDC Roberts released a statement on Tuesday, saying:

"Following a positive meeting between police, government and football last night, we will be jointly exploring a range of options to identify a way forward, which minimises any risks to public safety and unnecessary pressure on public services, but facilitates a sensible restart to the season, to support the economic and morale benefits associated with the sport."

Captains, senior players and managers are due to be briefed on the medical aspects of 'Project Restart' via videoconference on Wednesday.

There is growing concern among players about a return to play in the middle of a pandemic.

The UK government has spoken of the Premier League's return as a means to boost the nation's spirits, but that hasn't gone down well with Newcastle's on-loan full-back Danny Rose.

He told an Instagram Live chat, "I don't give a f*** about the nation's morale.

"People's lives are at risk, you know what I mean? Football shouldn't even be spoken about coming back until the numbers have dropped massively. It's b*******."

The UK's deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam is believed to be taking part in Wednesday's calls to ease any player fears about returning.

The Telegraph report that players will be told that if they don't return now, then it's likely they'll be unable to play again until 2021.

While among the rumoured recommendations to be made to players is to turn their face away when tackled to minimise infection risk.


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Coronavirus Covid-19 Danny Rose Mark Roberts Police Premier League Project Restart Richard Masters

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