Gary Neville says the Premier League are ‘frightened to death’ of the liability and blame if someone was to get critically ill from the return of football. Project Restart is being discussed by the Premier League and its member clubs with the hope to kick off agin next month.
The Premier League is suspended after 29 rounds of fixtures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Clubs are meeting on Friday to further discuss the path forward which is currently expected to include a return to training this month and a kick off on June 8.
However it all depends on the government’s advice this week and the easing of the lockdown measures.
But Neville insists the Premier League and its clubs are scared of the repercussions of what could happen if the game does return.
“The PL are having a CV nightmare,” he wrote on Twitter.
“They keep spouting Health First but then brief constantly “We have to Re-Start”
“I’d respect them more if they said “We accept the increase in Health Risk but it’s one we are willing to take”. They won’t as they are frightened to death!”
Neville was asked what would happen if someone died from a restart, and he replied saying: “That’s why we haven’t heard one single prominent CEO / Chairman / Owner or Executive open his mouth to back the re-start ! Brief / Brief / Brief ! Scared to death of the liability and blame.”
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish wrote to Neville saying: “There are no easy answers. But we need to try to play if we can make it safe.
“I believe we can and should continue however imperfect the other elements: neutral venues empty stadia etc. If we can’t make it work then I fear for next season. The game might never fully recover.”
And Neville replied again saying: “Steve I want football to return. I also understand the complexities.
“However it’s depressing that the PL and clubs seem to be in hiding, scared to death of communicating. No-one wants to be responsible for this one! Just in case the unthinkable happens.”
The Premier League has been suspended since March but some clubs have started to open their training grounds for individual sessions on the basis group training could return in the coming weeks.
Project Restart is facing some backlash over the plans to play at neutral venues and only using up to 10 stadiums in the country with all games behind closed doors.
Clubs in the bottom six are understand to be against having to play at neutral venues with Brighton particularly vocal against the plans due to having five of their remaining nine games left at home.
“Clearly, we must all be prepared to accept some compromises, and we fully appreciate why playing behind closed doors is very likely to be a necessary compromise to play our remaining games while continuing to fully support the government’s efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus,” Brighton chief Paul Barber said on the club’s website.
“But at this critical point in the season playing matches in neutral venues has, in our view, potential to have a material effect on the integrity of the competition.”
He added: “The disadvantages of us not playing the league’s top teams in our home stadium and in familiar surroundings, even with 27,000 Albion fans very unlikely to be present at the Amex, are very obvious.
“Clearly, we must accept there may also be some benefit from playing our remaining four away matches at neutral venues but the fixture list simply isn’t equally balanced at this stage of the season, and we didn’t play our first 29 matches of the season in this way. So, in our opinion one thing doesn’t cancel out the other.”
Published at Sun, 03 May 2020 11:00:00 +0000