Big ramifications for Cardiff City, Swansea City, Leeds Uni

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Big ramifications for Cardiff City, Swansea City, Leeds Uni

Postby Forever Blue » Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:18 pm

The U-turn opposed by Gary Neville which could have big ramifications for Cardiff City, Swansea City, Leeds United and West Brom

Plans are being formulated so that football seasons can be completed

By Glen Williams

Tuesday 24th March 2020


Games could be played behind closed doors to get this season completed


Top players are said to have made a U-turn on mooted plans to play behind closed doors, a PFA chief has said.

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, there will be no football in the Premier League or the English Football League until at least April 30, however there is a belief that the suspension will go on far longer than that.

It means club and league chiefs have been locked in talks to strike up a plan which will see the 2019/20 season finish in a satisfactory manner.

One suggestion, from Brighton chief executive Paul Barber and seconded by former Manchester United player and Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham, is that the leagues are frozen as they are, with only Leeds United and West Brom promoted into the top flight.

However, it is thought that plan would cause uproar for the teams currently chasing promotion with nine games still to go.

Cardiff City and Swansea City are right in the mix, too, just two and three points off the top six respectively, and are desperate for the season to be finished in some capacity.

One strategy being devised, however, is for matches to be played behind closed doors, in order to minimise the risk of supporters catching the virus when the outbreak dies down on these shores.

And PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes has claimed that players were, at first, reluctant to see the season out without their fans, but there has seemingly been a big shift in that school of thought of late.

“I think it’s more a case of there being no alternative,” Barnes, who is also on the board of international players’ union FIFPro and sits on UEFA’s Strategic Council, told The Athletic.

“Players are realistic. In an ideal world, we would be playing in front of crowds. But we’re not in an ideal world and certainly, the players I’ve spoken to accept that if that is what it’s going to be, that’s what it will have to be.

“I’ve been speaking to players — including two or three very high-profile Premier League players more or less on a daily basis — and the conversations I had with them at the outset were based around not wanting to play behind closed doors if at all possible.

“I said to them, ‘Look, none of us, in an ideal world, want to play in front of empty stadiums. Football is about fans. But the reality is that for the vast majority of the players, particularly at the highest level, their income is funded by television money and there are contracts that have to be adhered to.


“In order for us (the PFA) to be able to protect those players in terms of securing their salaries… if that’s the only offer we have on the table to complete the season, then that is what it will be."

Brown added the players were open to the suggestion and understand that alternative measures might have to be implemented if the seasons are to reach satisfactory conclusions.

“To be fair, most players very much took that on board when we spoke to them,” he said.

“The players get it. They understand the alternative. Quite frankly, if we’re going to get the season finished in a timely fashion so that we can even consider starting next season, we’ve got to be open to all options.

“If it means playing behind closed doors has to happen in order that contracts are protected, fixtures fulfilled and commercial deals honoured, then I think we’ve all got to come together and accept we’ve all got to make sacrifices to try and find a solution for the industry as a whole.”

Although not ideal, it will certainly afford the Bluebirds and the Swans the chance to wrestle their way into the play-off spots.

Both Neil Harris and Steve Cooper will be keen to resume the season where they left in the hope of affecting those top-six places.

Harris will likely be boosted by the return of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Lee Tomlin, while Cooper could see Mike van der Hoorn back in the fray to bolster his side’s backline.

However, resuming the season behind closed doors might not be as straightforward as it is made out.

Gary Neville, co-owner of League Two outfit Salford City, thinks playing without spectators would be detrimental to lower league clubs, who rely heavily on gate receipts and match-day income.

The former Manchester United right-back turned Sky Sports pundit and commentator also believes there is a health and safety issue to be considered and warned that, should games go ahead behind closed doors, the strictest of guidelines must be adhered to.

“I said no on this about four weeks ago because I felt that it takes away from the essence of football,” he told BBC Radio 5Live.

“I also feel that the EFL clubs and National League clubs, non-league clubs would suffer too much from the revenue loss which would force them to go under.

“I think at the moment the behind closed doors idea has to come only after the health priority.

“My concern with behind closed doors football at the moment are: ‘Will fans turn up outside the stadium? Will fans congregate outside the stadium if their team can get promoted or relegated or if they get into Europe?”

We saw a glimpse of this when Champions League and Europa League matches were played behind closed doors before football went into total lockdown.

And Neville, who, with Wales boss Ryan Giggs, recently opened his two hotels for NHS staff to stay in for free, believes the added strain of congregation could further burden the emergency services.

“How are we going to stop that (congregation outside stadia)? How are the police going to man it?” Neville added.

“How are the health services going to react to incidents that occur on the back of it? Do we need to put any more pressure on the services?

“There are a lot of things we have to contemplate before we even consider behind closed doors games. However, if those fears can be overcome, somewhere down the line over the next 12 weeks or so, then maybe that could be the case.”
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Big ramifications for Cardiff City, Swansea City, Leeds Uni

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