Suggestion that Premier League season could restart without possibility of relegation is questioned on The Football Show
Thursday 7 May 2020 11:11, UK
Jamie Carragher says the reported stance of some bottom-half Premier League teams agreeing to play at neutral venues if relegation was off the table doesn't sit well with him.
It has been reported that a growing number of Premier League clubs would be willing to play the remaining fixtures at neutral venues if the threat of relegation was removed.
It is understood clubs were told on Friday limiting action to a handful of selected stadiums was the only way it would be possible to complete the remaining matches of the 2019/20 season for safety reasons.
Carragher feels that some clubs' previously strong resistance to the restart of the Premier League on safety grounds have seen those arguments dampened by clubs reportedly being in favour of playing on if relegation was scrapped.
"The thing that disappoints me is that a couple of weeks ago I wrote a newspaper article about the bottom six clubs being vocal about reasons the league shouldn't go on, and they were legitimate reasons. I think everyone in the Premier League had them, in terms of fan safety, player safety, testing, taking things away from the NHS.
"What really got me off the back of the last meeting was that it has since emerged that the clubs weren't opposed to neutral venues; because as soon as relegation was taken off the table, it was fine to play at neutral grounds.
"Those clubs around the bottom lost a bit of their argument when that came out. For so long they've been vociferous speaking about reasons, and that's what we want.
"The teams at the top find it very difficult to talk about the season going on because it looks insensitive, whereas it's completely different for teams at the bottom.
"But a lot of that, when they said it was OK to play at neutral venues when relegation was scrapped, I just thought it really ruined their argument.
"I think they lost a little bit of sympathy, the teams at the bottom, who have been arguing about different, legitimate reason why they shouldn't play. But as soon as relegation was taken off the table they were fine with it. That doesn't really sit well."
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English Football League chairman Rick Parry says he still expects three clubs to be promoted from the Championship to the top flight - and that a Premier League without relegation could prompt "outrage".
The former Liverpool chief executive was giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) on Tuesday about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sport.
"We expect three Championship clubs to be promoted - the Premier League are aware of our position on that. The Premier League expects three clubs to be relegated," he said.
Asked what would happen if the Premier League's position changed, Parry added: "There would be a degree of outrage from a number of clubs in our Championship, and it would be a breach of the tripartite agreement.
"The safe answer is that it would get very messy. Our expectation is there would be three clubs promoted from the Championship."
This is 'a significant week for the future of football in this country', according to Sky Sports' latest podcast.
In an in-depth preview, Sky Sports News' chief reporter Bryan Swanson and reporter Kaveh Solhekol explain where Project Restart - the plan to resume football in England - is up to, what needs to happen before football can return and the hurdles which must still be overcome.
Read an edited version of their explainer or listen to their analysis in full on a special Sky Sports Football podcast.
Download the Sky Sports Football podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox | Spreaker
Project Restart could complete the season behind closed doors - but which teams would that affect most?
Premier League clubs remain committed to finishing the 2019/20 season, but this will only be possible if between eight and 10 neutral venues are used to play the remaining fixtures.
But which clubs would gain or lose if the league resumes in empty stadiums?