Premier League clubs have been told the “eight to ten” neutral ground plan is an experiment – and all 20 could be used next season.
Mirror Sport can reveal the Premier League stressed to clubs it was the Government and the police who have insisted on the “approved” stadium idea in Project Restart with all remaining 92 games behind closed doors.
But it was made clear in last Friday’s meeting that if it goes to plan then next season all 20 grounds could be opened up for Premier League games and the end of this season was described as a “test run” for the neutral venues.
However, it is still uncertain even then whether clubs could return to playing at their own grounds because of the fear of fans turning up at their stadium or, more worryingly, congregating at nearby pubs.
The neutral grounds being used for the rest of the season is seen as the biggest single stumbling block in resuming the season with relegation-threatened clubs insisting that home advantage will be crucial to winning games during the run-in.
But the fear is that fans would still turn up in their droves to their own grounds and break social distancing rules which are likely to be in place well into next season which is why clubs are already resigned to behind closed doors games for much of the 2020/21 season.
However, some clubs believe you could not start next season in neutral venues and finish it with clubs playing in their own stadiums with home advantage as that would be unfair so there is a possibility that it could be neutral venues for the whole campaign.
It is believed that they have still not decided on which grounds can get approved but West Ham, Manchester City, Leicester, Southampton and Brighton have all been discussed as they are “out of town.”
But the neutral grounds is the biggest sticking point among clubs opposed to restarting but it needs a 14-6 majority to restart with the clubs set to meet again this coming Friday.
Mirror Sport understands that Brighton, West Ham, Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich and Aston Villa all raised objections in the meeting.
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has already spoken up publicly about the neutral ground issue, West Ham raised concerns about player welfare and yet it is still unknown as to how they will all vote.
But, according to a source, there was a clear 14-6 split.
There is believed to be a number of clubs who believe relegation should be scrapped if they have to go ahead in neutral grounds.
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