Premier League clubs yet to settle on protocols for resumption amid pandemic

Premier League is trying to find a way to resume in June but group practice sessions have not yet started.

Premier League

The Premier League chiefs are committed to finishing the season.   -  Getty Images

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow says Premier League clubs have yet to settle on protocols to ensure a safe return to playing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The league is trying to find a way to resume in June but group practice sessions have not yet started.

Purslow tells talkSPORT radio, "We haven’t got to the crucial protocols that relate to actually playing football."

Aston Villa has joined Brighton and West Ham in expressing public opposition to the current Project Restart plan that would see all remaining games played at neutral stadiums.

Purslow says, “We’ve got six home games left to play and I think any Villa fan would agree that giving up that advantage is a massive decision for somebody running Aston Villa and I certainly wouldn’t agree to that unless those circumstances are right.”

Villa is in next-from-last place in the Premier League and two points from safety with 10 games remaining.

The financial implications of relegation would be huge for the club in its first season back in the English top-flight.

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Fellow struggler Brighton has also opposed the stadium switch and Purslow said agreeing to neutral venues would be foolish for a club in Villa’s perilous position.

“At the bottom end of the table there’s a much smaller revenue base, but the risk of relegation is probably a 200-million-pound (USD 247 million) catastrophe for any club that mathematically could still go down,” he said.

Purslow was speaking a day after English Football League chairman Rick Parry said things would get “very messy” if the Premier League tried to block promotion from the Championship this season.

Leeds and West Bromwich Albion currently hold the automatic promotion places in the English second tier.

But Purslow responded with a damning verdict on the finances of the Football League.

“The EFL has grave financial problems and those problems predate COVID-19,” he said.

“I think what COVID has done is expose the fact the league is unsustainable at every level.

“One of the reasons I feel very strongly that we need to complete the season and protect TV revenue is that the Premier League really is the driver of revenue that filters throughout English football.”

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