Watford oppose Premier League neutral venue proposals, joining Brighton and Aston Villa

Watford President and CEO Scott Duxbury raised concerns about proposals for neutral locations

Watford followed Brighton and Aston Village publicly opposing the use of neutral locations in the Premier League proposed project restart plan.

Hornets President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Duxbury says he would compromise justice and sporting integrity.

Advertisement

It is understood that Premier League clubs do not plan to vote on whether to use neutral venues at a Monday meeting.

The vote is likely to take place in late May and 14 of the 20 clubs are expected to vote in favor of its adoption.

And while three have already opposed the proposal, it is understood that others have similar feelings.

Advertisement

Before the vote, league leaders also await government guidance on biosafety criteria at events and ground safety licensing, which is expected next week.

& # 39; No appearance of sporting integrity & # 39;

"Of course, I absolutely accept that we cannot have fans at the stadium," wrote Duxbury in The Times. "This is obvious in the current situation.

Advertisement

"However, now we are told that we cannot play our remaining home games on Vicarage Road and the familiarity and advantage it brings. This happens to players who, seeing their lives turned upside down and the rest of the world, stay it is suddenly expected to function as if nothing has happened, although the rest of society is probably still facing the kind of restrictions not applicable on a football field.

"We have medical teams from clubs working under conditions that no doctor or physiotherapist has ever experienced with guidelines that, to a large extent, are based on this stage on assumptions and not on scientific facts. And with all these commitments and health risks, we are asked to end a competition that bears no resemblance to the one we started, which could end up with a small club like Watford's Premier League time.

"So is it fair? Does it have any appearance of sporting integrity? Of course not."

& # 39; A distorted nine-game mini league & # 39;

The Premier League has been suspended since March 13, but plans to resume in June, with most teams facing nine games remaining.

Advertisement

The German Bundesliga will return on May 16 and the teams will use their own stadiums for the rest of the games.

Advertisement

League Managers Association executive director Richard Bevan said the Premier League season can be canceled if clubs do not agree to play at neutral locations.

Duxbury believes that a "safe environment" can be created for the "300 people" who would participate in a game behind closed doors on Vicarage Road.

He also believes that clubs can have "more control" over their own fans if games are played at their stadiums. Some, including Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, raised the prospect of fans gathered in their own stadiums even if games were played in neutral locations.

"When at least six clubs – and I suspect most – are concerned about the clear disadvantage and devastating effects of playing in this kind of twisted nine-game mini-league, I believe the Premier League has a duty to take care of addressing those concerns," wrote Duxbury.

"If we start and end an entire season in these conditions and in neutral places, when everyone knows the rules when we start, not created in times of crisis, that will clearly be fair. Being asked to end a quarter of the season in new rules and conditions is a totally different proposition.

"How can the long-term future of clubs be determined under these fundamentally changed conditions? How does any appearance of justice exist? To dispel all fears and concerns is very simplistic. Certainly, all 20 clubs must agree on the fairest path to conclude. the station?"

Player hires Monday focus

The national leader of football policing, deputy police chief Mark Roberts, told ITV that clubs should "control" and stop complaining about neutral locations.

However, former football policing commander Owen West told The Guardian