Police Insist Liverpool Must Clinch Title at Neutral Venue

Police in England have set out which remaining Premier League matches they think must be played at neutral venues, as the competition looks set to resume in June.

One of those matches is any game at which league-leaders Liverpool could clinch the title.

This could, obviously, mean that more than one game ends up being shifted to a neutral venue, due to concerns about celebrating supporters gathering in crowds.

The matches the Police have insisted must take place at neutral venues are: Manchester City v Liverpool, Manchester City v Newcastle United, Manchester United v Sheffield United, Newcastle v Liverpool and Everton v Liverpool.

Liverpool currently top the table with 81 points from 29 matches. They are 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

One more victory could see the Reds claim their first title for 30 years, with them taking what was then the First Division title in the 1989/90 season.

Majority of games played home and away as usual

“The majority of remaining matches will be played at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed,” deputy chief constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, the UK’s football policing lead, said in a statement.

“The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.”

The plan will be kept continually under review, in order to ensure that public health regulations are adhered to.

Some clubs have expressed a measure of dismay at being asked to play games at neutral venues.

Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber has been one of those who have stated that playing at neutral venues would unfairly disadvantage their club.

“The disadvantages of us not playing in our home stadium and in familiar surroundings, even with fans very unlikely to be present at the Amex, are very obvious,” Barber said.

“All five of our home matches are very difficult but four are against some of the biggest clubs in European football.”

Albion’s remaining home games are against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle.

Clubs to meet again to finalise plans

The Premier League clubs are set to meet again on June 4 to establish whether or not they want to resume action under this model.

There has been no mention of any EFL Championship matches in the Police statement.

Championship clubs are also now back in training. They are looking to resume action next month too.

“It remains our intention to play all remaining league matches at clubs’ home grounds as long as they comply with the relevant government guidance,” an EFL spokesman said.

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