English Premier League clubs got the news they were looking for on Monday from British prime minister Boris Johnson
, who outlined a plan to ease lock-down measures that include, not before June
1, "permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact."
Problem is, the clubs and the
government don't agree on where to play if all goes well and they can some time in June, as Johnson suggested in his speech in the House of Common, "provide a much-needed boost to national morale."
The government would prefer games be played at neutral venues, making policing and coronavirus-related safety easier.
But the plan has been opposed by a small group of
relegation-threatened clubs that want to play all games in the stadium of the designated home team, the suggestion being that they want promotion-relegation otherwise scrapped for this 2019-20
"Everybody would prefer to play home and away if at all possible," Premier League CEO Richard Masters
said. "It's clear to see that some clubs feel more strongly about that
than others. It is an ongoing dialogue and we've been talking to the authorities about the conditions in which we could get the Premier League back up and running and taking all that advice on
He downplayed the objections of the relegation-threatened clubs.
"If the season plays out, no one has suggested, or talked about, relegation not being in play,"
Masters added. "There was a view that we were better together, better off talking through one voice and better off acting at all times like a collective. That was a unanimous view. Clubs came together
today, I feel people can see the momentum."
Masters admitted one of the options, though, was scrapping the season.
"I'm happy to reveal it was discussed for the first time,
but the contents of that discussion have to remain confidential," Masters added. "It's still our aim to finish the season obviously, but it's important to discuss all the options with our clubs. What
I can say is that all of the talk was about finishing the season. No conclusions were reached on any other models."