May 3, 2020 / 12:12 PM / 2 months ago

Brighton against playing games at neutral venues

(Reuters) - Brighton & Hove Albion are opposed to the idea of playing the remaining Premier League games at neutral venues, according to their chief executive Paul Barber.

The season has been suspended since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as discussions continue about the resumption of matches, clubs have been told that only approved neutral venues will be allowed.

Brighton, 15th in the standings, have five home games left — including visits from Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal.

“At this critical point in the season playing matches in neutral venues has, in our view, potential to have a material effect on the integrity of the competition,” Barber told the club’s website.

“Five of our nine remaining matches due to be played at the Amex – all five matches are very difficult but four are against some of the biggest clubs in European football.”

Barber said that although his club were willing to make compromises, such as playing in empty stadiums, to complete the season, they were not ready to surrender home advantage.

“Clearly, we must accept there may also be some benefit from playing our remaining four away matches at neutral venues but the fixture list simply isn’t equally balanced at this stage of the season,” he added.

“We didn’t play our first 29 matches of the season in this way. So, in our opinion one thing doesn’t cancel out the other.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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