Coronavirus: Brighton chief refutes reports of using Amex Stadium as a neutral ground
Paul Barber has confirmed Brighton and Hove Albion would be against complete the Premier League season at neutral venues.FotMob - over 1 year ago
Brighton and Hove Albion's deputy chairman Paul Barber says the club have not been approached to use the Amex Stadium as a neutral ground in the event of a Premier League restart.
Reports have suggested one option being considered by the Premier League, should the competition be allowed to resume amid the coronavirus crisis, is to hold all matches behind closed doors at neutral venues.
The Amex is rumoured to be one of the grounds under consideration, yet Barber has suggested the reports are, as it stands, wide of the mark.
"We haven't been asked if we would consider our stadium being used as a neutral venue for any remaining Premier League matches – by our colleagues at the league, the government or the police – and at this point we haven't been approached to have such a discussion either so I am unable to say why our stadium has been included in the reports," Barber wrote in a statement on the club's official website.
"Some newspapers reported that the use of a small number of neutral venues may be the only way to complete the Premier League season to ensure social distancing policies are maintained, and Albion was named as one of a number of clubs against such a move."
Barber also added that Brighton – who were battling relegation prior to the suspension of the season – would not be satisfied with switching matches to neutral stadiums.
"We do of course understand that in the very difficult circumstances we are facing that every option must be considered – but that should only be when safe to do so for all concerned and, if and when we reach that point, we are not in favour of playing our remaining matches at neutral venues," he wrote.
"Clearly, we must all be prepared to accept some compromises, and we fully appreciate why playing behind closed doors is very likely to be a necessary compromise to play our remaining games while continuing to fully support the government's efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.
"But at this critical point in the season playing matches in neutral venues has, in our view, potential to have a material effect on the integrity of the competition.
"Five of our nine remaining matches due to be played at the Amex – all five matches are very difficult but four are against some of the biggest clubs in European football."
Brighton were set to welcome Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City to the Amex in their next four home matches.