Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has warned fans not to wreck Project Restart as the top flight returns. The Premier League gets back underway on June 17th, with Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United and Manchester City facing Arsenal before the first full round of fixtures at the weekend, including the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Sunday.
All 92 games between now and the end of the season will take place behind closed doors as restrictions remain in place during the coronavirus pandemic. And Premier League bosses and players will be sending out clear messages to fans as they ask them to not turn up at stadiums during lockdown.
Warnings have already been given that some high-profile fixtures – including a number of Liverpool’s games – could be moved to neutral venues, with police said to be concerned about the threat of mass gatherings near grounds.
Richard Masters said: “Fans are going to get some very clear messages from their clubs, from the managers and club captains about staying away and watching at home. That’s why all the matches are on TV and many of them on a wider distribution, free-to-air basis. We think the messaging is going to be very clear, we’re very hopeful there won’t be any incidents and gatherings outside football matches.
“We’re hopeful it won’t occur. But obviously should it occur, it might create a situation where the progress we’ve made on neutral venues could be at risk. As I’ve said, we’re hopeful that won’t occur. We have contingency plans in place in relation to neutral venues, obviously. We have discussions with a number of different clubs and we haven’t revealed who they are. So really you’re looking at a small number of fixtures that still remain ‘at risk’ – I think that’s the best way of putting it. And also what would happen if things change. And we have contingency plans for both.”
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