May 6, 2020 / 12:24 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Premier League clubs must back neutral venues says LMA chief

May 6 (Reuters) - The English Premier League season could be cancelled if teams did not agree to play the remaining 92 fixtures in neutral venues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, League Managers Association (LMA) chief executive Richard Bevan said on Wednesday.

Professional soccer has been suspended since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 32,000 people in the United Kingdom, the highest death toll in Europe.

Discussions are continuing about resuming matches after clubs were told on a Premier League conference call earlier this month that only neutral venues approved from a health and safety point of view will be allowed.

Asked if the 2019/20 campaign would be cancelled if teams voted against playing in neutral venues, Bevan told the BBC here: "Yes, I think that probably is correct."

“The government, if they haven’t already, will be making it clear that home matches with densely populated stadia, really puts into question whether social distancing rules can be adhered to.”

Brighton & Hove Albion and Aston Villa are opposed to the idea of playing their remaining games at neutral venues and LMA chief Bevan said clubs needed to get on board with the proposal if the season was to go ahead.

Brighton chief Paul Barber had previously said playing in neutral venues would have a “material effect on the integrity of the competition.” (Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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