Brighton Chief Oppose Neutral Venue Suggestion.
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has voiced opposition to the idea of finishing the Premier League season at neutral venues and he has the support of West Ham.
It is understood clubs were told on Friday limiting action to a handful of selected stadiums was the only way it would be possible to complete the remaining matches of the 2019-20 season for safety reasons.
The latest updates to ‘Project Restart’ were well received but there remained opposition on competition and integrity grounds about using neutral venues with Barber confirming Brighton are among those with reservations, while fellow strugglers West Ham are also in that group.
“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,” 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.”
Brighton, in 15th place on 29 points, were due to be at home for five of their remaining nine matches as they fight for Premier League survival, and Barber fears the loss of home advantage could prove critical – even without fans.
“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,” Barber added.
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.”