Watford has joined two other Premier League side – Brighton and Aston Villa, to publicly declare its opposition against the plan to play the remaining 92 fixtures of the 2019-2020 season in neutral venues.
Brighton was the first Premier League club to oppose the plan followed by Aston Villa days later. They are all citing the fact that the need their home advantage so as to increase their chances of surviving relegation.
Brighton is occupying the 15 position on the league table with a total of 29 points before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. While Aston Villa is occupying the 19th position with a total of 25 points.
As it stands, the clubs occupying the 13th to the 20th spots on the league table have the tendency of dropping out of the Premier League if they don’t give their best in the remaining 9 matches they have to play before the 2019-2020 season officially ends.
Watford and others may spoil Premier League resumption party
Now that the Premier League has been talking about resuming the season which has been halted since March 13 and playing the remaining fixtures in neutral venues, the fear of the clubs below the comfort zone of the league table is how they can survive without their “home advantage”.
This could be a major point why the clubs might not vote in favour of playing in neutral venues when the clubs meet on Monday, May 11. The meeting should have taken place on Friday but had to be moved to Monday so that all the stakeholders could digest the national address of the Prime Minister of United Kingdom Boris Johnson scheduled for today, May 10.
Watford chief executive Scott Duxbury Wants consideration
While people in the United Kingdom are waiting for what Boris Johnson will say tonight, Watford chief executive Scott Duxbury wrote in the Times that the Premier League should consider the concerns of other clubs before the league decides on playing in neutral venues.
He wrote: “There is no altruism in the Premier League. There are 20 different vested interests which sometimes align but more often than not work purely to protect each individual club.
“That is why some clubs are happy to sign up to Project Restart because arguably there is only upside in participating in this compromised format; it means Liverpool can win the title, other clubs can book their place in Europe next season or potentially fight their way up the table from a position of safety.
“But when at least six clubs – and I suspect more – are concerned about the clear downside and the devastating effects of playing in this kind of distorted nine-game mini-league, then I believe the Premier League has a duty of care to address those concerns.
“In the world of Covid-19, there is no such thing as an entirely safe environment wherever we play.
“The police also talk about fans flouting restrictions when football restarts and that this is a concern for the authorities, but I believe we would have more control over supporters playing at our own grounds.”
The Premier League needs the votes of just 14 clubs out of 20 to get the plan of playing in neutral venues rolling.