We still aren’t entirely convinced the Premier League will restart next month, and a lot will depend on how things progress in Germany in the coming weeks with the Bundesliga set to resume play on the weekend, but if the games begin again in England it appears they will not be played at neutral venues.
That’s today’s latest news care of The Times, who say talks between the clubs, league, and government have seen a shift away from plans for a festival of football at a limited number of venues and towards allowing the home teams to host. It’s a shift that will have been pushed for by the bottom six sides.
Those clubs, in the thick of the relegation battle, had been highly resistant to the idea of completing the season at neutral sites, believing it hurt their chances of survival—even without fans, a home stadium offers a familiar pitch and can be tweaked to suit the home side by the grounds staff.
The government, on the other hand, had wanted neutral grounds used in order to limit the number of non-playing staff involved in the effort to restart football. With a testing test of Wolverhampton Wanderers players and staff going well on Tuesday, though, it appears that stance has softened somewhat.
Now, that testing will be rolled out to the other Premier League and Championship sides as they begin to return to group training in the coming days and weeks. If all goes well on that front and in Germany, we might just be watching Premier League football again a month from now.