Police have identified a total of six fixtures ‘requiring neutral venues‘ when the Premier League resumes, and half of them involve Liverpool, according to football writer Ian Herbert.
He told his followers on Twitter that the Reds’ trip to the Etihad, our game against Newcastle and the Merseyside Derby have been earmarked.
Understand police have identified SIX fixtures requiring neutral venues when PL restarts: Man City v Liverpool, Man City v Newcastle, Man Utd v Sheff Utd, Newcastle v Liverpool, Everton v Liverpool, the game in which Liverpool might take the title. Full story to follow…
— ian herbert (@ianherbs) May 29, 2020
Herbet stresses the situation ‘is fluid’ and there could be changes, including more games being shifted to neutral venues as the relegation battle deepens.
The idea is that these fixtures will be played elsewhere – say, Villa Park – to avoid fans from gathering outside their club’s home stadium.
It does seem a little extreme, considering there hasn’t been an issue with people crowding in Germany after the resumption of the Bundesliga.
And, while it’s understandable extra attention is given to Liverpool as the champions-elect, it shows a distrust of football fans that doesn’t sit well.
The integrity of the game comes into question – how can some fixtures be forced to use neutral venues while others are fine to be held at home?
The away goal rule, utilised in European competitions, suggests home advantage is a real thing. How can the Premier League allow some teams and players to be disadvantaged?