The Premier League’s empty stadium problem
In a little over two weeks, on June 17, the 2019-20 Premier League season is scheduled to resume.
On that day, Man City are set to host Arsenal, while Aston Villa take on Sheffield United.
These matches are scheduled to be held behind closed doors, as has been the case in the Bundesliga, for example.
However, is there a way to fill the stands safely when the Premier League resumes?
Here’s an original idea: the Premier League could require rival clubs players to sit in the stands in order to inject some extra atmosphere into the games.
Require rivals like Arsenal & Chelsea to watch Tottenham games
Taking London as an example, the Premier League could ask the Arsenal and Chelsea squads to sit in the stands for any Tottenham home matches.
Or, up in the north, teams like Liverpool and Man City could be sat watching matches at Old Trafford when Man United are in action.
Expanding this theory further, if the Championship also finishes their season, as many expect, these clubs could also attend matches in order to boost the atmosphere.
Who wouldn’t want to see Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds side booing Man United in their own stadium?
Or perhaps Derby County players could heckle Leicester City and the Wolves stars during their Premier League matches.
Millwall’s squad could be at Crystal Palace’s games, Sheffield Wednesday’s players could watch Sheffield United’s matches, while Newcastle’s players could attend Middlesbrough’s fixtures.
Why this idea makes sense
On Saturday night, after the fourth round of Premier League Covid-19 testing, it was confirmed that there were zero positive cases.
To be clear, that means that there are currently no players in the Premier League who are infected with the coronavirus.
That means there are currently no safety concerns that these footballers can spread the virus, so all the health fears can be placed to one side.
Now, imagine that Manchester United’s squad were forced to watch Liverpool beat Everton to claim their first Premier League title in 30-years.
Who wouldn’t want to see close up of the United stars grimacing as the Liverpool players celebrate their success?
Or, imagine if West Ham end up being relegated. Who wouldn’t want to see the reactions of the Chelsea and Tottenham players to the Hammers’ demise?
The current Covid-19 pandemic has provided this unique opportunity to make these theoretical, one-off situations come to life.
Premier League could have fans in the stands in September
The issue of when fans may be allowed into grounds again has been covered by the Telegraph on Sunday.
According to reporter Luke Edwards, Premier League supporters could be back in grounds in September, when the 2020-21 season is scheduled to begin:
Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, confirmed it was looking at proposals to allow fans to attend live games from September onwards, but would not reveal any details in a typically cagey interview.
The Telegraph also reveal that Serie A and La Liga could even have fans in their stadia this season:
In Italy and Spain, where coronavirus cases are on a sharper downward curve, reopening stadiums is already being publicly discussed, with speculation the grounds will be allowed to open at a third of their normal capacity, with one in three seats occupied, in order to ensure social distancing rules can be obeyed.
Premier League investigates ways to welcome fans back to matches next seasonhttps://t.co/bMZDwl4wUa
— Luke Edwards (@LukeEdwardsTele) May 29, 2020
This article was edited by Benjamin Newman.
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