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Brighton Oppose Use Of Neutral Venues To Complete Premier League Season

Brighton and Hove Albion will kick against plans to restart the Premier League at selected neutral venues.

Brighton and Hove Albion
Match action during the pre-season friendly match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Valencia at the American Express Community Stadium on the 2nd August 2019.

This is in opposition to the outcome of Friday’s video conference among the 20 top-flight teams which underlined staging the remaining 92 games on neutral grounds if completion of the Premier League will be feasible

Although the clubs have agreed to continue the season when it is safe to do so and Brighton was left with 9 games to play before the season was halted due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Five of these are home matches against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United, but despite the likelihood of games being staged without fans in attendance, the Seagulls are bent on enjoying the advantages of playing at the AMEX Stadium as they battle to beat the drop.

“We do of course understand that in the very difficult circumstances we are facing that every option must be considered – but that should only be when safe to do so for all concerned and, if and when we reach that point, we are not in favor of playing our remaining matches at neutral venues,” Brighton’s Chief Executive, Paul Barber, wrote in a statement on the club’s website.

“Clearly, we must all be prepared to accept some compromises. We fully appreciate why playing behind closed doors is very likely to be a necessary compromise to play our remaining games while continuing to fully support the government’s efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.”

“But 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.”

“Five of our nine remaining matches [are] 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 added.

“The disadvantages of us not playing the league’s top teams in our home stadium and in familiar surroundings, even with 27,000 Albion fans very unlikely to be present at the Amex, are very obvious.

“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, and 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.”

Brighton sat 15th on the log in March before the season was paused.

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