Premier League relegation could cost £200m; Aston Villa against neutral venues - Christian Purslow
"We've got six home games left to play... giving up that advantage is a massive decision for somebody running Aston Villa," says Christian Purslow
Last Updated: 06/05/20 7:57pm
Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has described the risk of relegation as a "£200m catastrophe" and is opposed to the use of neutral grounds to complete the Premier League season.
He likened discussions around Project Restart with the Brexit debate, because though there is consensus that football should resume as soon as it is safe to do so, there is no clear answer on how to do it.
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Purslow said that while the day-to-day financial losses due to the shutdown were greater at the top end of the table, for those near the bottom the implications were far greater.
"At the bottom end of the table there's a much smaller revenue base, but the risk of relegation is probably a £200million catastrophe for any club that mathematically could still go down," he told talkSPORT.
"When you say to any club, 'We want you to agree to a bunch of rule changes that may make it more likely that you get relegated', they're not thinking about TV money, they're thinking, 'My goodness, am I going to agree to something that results in me being relegated and losing £200m?"'
Premier League clubs remain committed to finishing the 2019/20 season, but this will only be possible if eight to 10 neutral venues are used to play the remaining 92 fixtures, something Brighton chief executive Paul Barber is also opposed to.
"Personally I'm against it," Purslow said.
"We're a club that prides itself on home form. Two-thirds of our wins this season have come at home.
"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."
He said that while the day-to-day financial losses due to the shutdown were greater at the top end of the table, for those near the bottom the implications were far greater.
Villa, having played a game less than those around them, sit in the relegation zone as things stand, two points behind West Ham who are outside the bottom three on goal difference, with Brighton a further two points better off in 15th place.
Sky Sports' Adam Smith...
A Sky Sports study found Premier League teams were 14.6 per cent more likely to win if they played at home this season, compared with results on the road. Rock-bottom Norwich have collected nearly three quarters of their points at home, while Aston Villa have won 71 per cent of their points at Villa Park (adjusted for per game).
Aston Villa still have a realistic chance of avoiding the drop but rely heavily on home form, along with fellow relegation battlers Bournemouth, Watford and Brighton - as have Spurs in their hunt for European qualification.
Aston Villa and Manchester City each have a league-topping six home games left to play. It could be a decisive factor for Villa, who would lose home support against Sheffield United, Chelsea, Wolves, Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Arsenal.
Premier League restart: The challenges ahead
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.