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Sterling cautious over return as London trio oppose neutral venues


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Raheem Sterling says the Premier League has to make sure that if it returns, it does so for the right reasons. 

The Manchester City forward was speaking after a meeting of league shareholders where as many as twelve opposed plans to play at neutral venues.

While initially it was believed that just the Premier League's bottom six were against the neutral ground proposals, that number has swelled with the reported addition of Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters will 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 proposal, however the police remain in need of convincing.

They fear fans may congregate outside closed stadiums during games.

Speaking on his Youtube channel, Sterling expressed caution about a swift return, "The moment we do go back it just needs to be a moment where it's not just for footballing reasons, it's safe for not just us footballers but the whole medical staff, referees.

"I don't know how that's going to work, but I feel like once that side of the people's safety and the player's safety is secured and their wellbeing is looked after then that's the right time to go back in.

"Until then, I'm...how can I say...not scared but reserved and thinking what the worst outcome could be. At the same time I'm looking forward to it and I really want to get back but hopefully it will all be well when we do get back."

Premier League clubs stand to lose a lot of money, even if they return to the field.

It's reported that they could have to return an estimated £340million (€388m) to broadcast rights holders.

That figure could rise still further if the season is cut short, or if relegation is scrapped.

The British government has told sporting bodies to prepare for a return to action after June 1, and mid-June is a best case scenario for a Premier League resumption.

Clubs were told by FA chairman Greg Clarke at Monday's meeting that declaring the season null and void is categorically off the table, as is ditching relegation.

They want all aspects of the season decided on sporting merit.

That could mean final placings decided on a points-per-game ratio as outlined by UEFA.

Premier League CEO Masters said afterwards, "It's the first time we've discussed curtailment. It's still our aim to finish the season obviously, but it's important to discuss all of the options with our clubs."

Masters claims that no club has raised the prospect of relegation being scrapped during their 'Project Restart' negotiations.


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Coronavirus Covid-19 Greg Clarke Premier League Project Restart Raheem Sterling Richard Masters

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