The majority of Premier League clubs have agreed to use neutral stadiums to finish the 2019-20 season once the UK Government allows football to resume.
No Premier League matches have been played since Leicester City’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But plans are in place for England’s top division to resume behind closed doors next month - and a video meeting was held between the league and the clubs on Friday to discuss ‘Project Restart’.
Several teams want to preserve home advantage when games return behind closed doors.
Brighton & Hove Albion, Bournemouth, Watford and West Ham are among the clubs opposed to the neutral grounds plan. Aston Villa and Norwich City are also believed to be against the idea.
However, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and title favourites Liverpool have accepted the proposals.
This is according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, who reports that 10 stadiums are being considered as ‘neutral’ grounds.
These are nine Premier League grounds, plus one other - although it will not be Wembley or St George’s Park.
The neutral grounds will be confirmed within the next two weeks, The Sun, have confirmed.
Clubs plan to start general training from May 18, with the first Premier League fixtures set to take place on Friday, June 12 - the date Euro 2020 would have got underway.
Grounds including Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and Liverpool’s Anfield will be ruled out due to police concerns over using ‘congested urban areas and fans converging in the vicinity of the stadiums’, which have the potential to increase the risk of coronavirus spreading.
According to The Sun’s information, these are the eight grounds most likely to be used as neutral stadiums…
Amex Stadium (Brighton)
St Mary’s Stadium (Southampton)
London Stadium (West Ham)
Emirates Stadium (Arsenal)
King Power Stadium (Leicester City)
Villa Park (Aston Villa)
Old Trafford (Manchester United)
Etihad Stadium (Manchester City)
No team will play in their own stadium, The Sun add, in an effort to ensure a degree of equality.
A further meeting is scheduled for Friday, with the government poised to make a decision over its current lockdown restrictions the previous day.
“It’s pretty clear we will have to play behind closed doors when we come back — including, probably, into next season,” a ‘Premier League insider’ is quoted as saying. “Nobody wants that but we cannot deny the reality.
“This is seen by everybody as the best option in the circumstances and we recognise that we must choose venues where we can ensure only those authorised to be there will be in and around the stadium.
“Of course, there are a range of views around the League and clubs. They all have their own stances and positions.
“But it was generally agreed that we should do everything we can to try to finish the season.”
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