May 10, 2020 / 1:02 PM / 24 days ago

Palace chairman expects lengthy delay if 'Project Restart' fails

(Reuters) - The Premier League’s plans to resume its season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be guided by the progress in Germany but “insurmountable” problems could result in a long delay, Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has said.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace v Manchester City - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - October 19, 2019 Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Germany’s plans to restart competitive soccer on May 16 suffered an early setback after the entire team of second tier Dynamo Dresden were placed in a two-week quarantine following two positive coronavirus tests.

“The German example could provide a blueprint for us and clearly we can see some of the early challenges,” Parish told the BBC on Sunday.

“They may prove insurmountable, but the concern for us is that if they prove insurmountable now then we may be in for a very, very extended period of not being able to play and that has huge ramifications for the game.

“We would be derelict in our duty if we didn’t find a way to try and bring the game back. It may prove beyond us.”

Premier League clubs are set to meet on Monday to discuss plans to resume matches in June at neutral venues and with no spectators present, provided there is government clearance.

Scott Duxbury, the chief executive of relegation-threatened Watford, said on Saturday that neutral venues were not fair and that at least six clubs were against the idea.

Palace are among the teams opposed to the proposal.

“... If we can play in our own stadiums that would be preferable for everybody, but for the moment that situation is with government and the authorities,” Parish said.

“The police have made it clear that they don’t think they can police every ground. I have enormous sympathy with Duxbury’s position. Having said that, I think it may well prove to be the least worst option.

“There are no easy answers, we have to work through it as a collective and we will come out with a consensus in the end.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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